- a tunnel resident to the camera about the blackness and lack of day or night differentiation.
New York Times - 08/30/2000
"...[An] unforgettable movie....DARK DAYS manages the tricky feat of humanizing its subjects without overly sentimentalizing them..."
Sight and Sound - 03/01/2001
"...Singer displays a sharp sense of cinematic grammar....[A] remarkable documentary..."
Total Film - 04/01/2001
"...This is a wonderfully shot and snappily edited film....A triumph of documentary film-making..."
Los Angeles Times - 10/27/2000
"...Exceptional....It's remarkable for where it takes us, how it takes us there, and the quiet way it changes our view of the word by giving a voice to people no one has much listened to before..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 10/20/2000
"...Marc Singer's film shows an extraordinary world that exists below the streets of Manhattan..."
Entertainment Weekly - 09/28/2001
"...There are stories here filled with sadness and deep regret....These sub-metropolitans have managed to create an atmosphere of warmth and community in one of the coldest places in Manhattan..."
DARK DAYS, a groundbreaking documentary from British director Marc Singer with a moving soundtrack from DJ Shadow, shows a way of life that is unimaginable to most people. The film focuses on a group of homeless people that live deep underground in an abandoned New York City railroad tunnel. During the daytime they scavenge for food on the streets of New York. At night, they retreat to the tunnel where they have built homes out of scrap metal, plastic, and plywood. They have electricity, furniture, and working kitchens, not to mention community, comaraderie, and the support of each other. Some of them have lived in the tunnel for 25 years.
Shot in vivid black and white, capturing both the grit (chicken wire and concrete walls, all precisely detailed) and the honesty (the residents have hit rock bottom and admit it) of the tunnel, Singer's film consists of candid conversations with tunnel residents, who are intelligent, funny, optimistic, and above all, human. One man confesses that he once had a wife and a child, and that he lost both to his drug addiction (crack cocaine), while one teenage boy living in the tunnel explains that he was abused by his family in Florida and simply ran away, finding life in the tunnel more redeeming. In the film's emotional, understated conclusion, Singer turns to New York City's Coalition for the Homeless for help.
New York City |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical release: August 25, 2000
Filmed on location in a tunnel underneath Penn Station in New York City.
Singer, who was working a regular day job in the fashion industry and had no prior film making experience, became fascinated by the people living in the tunnel and decide to move underground himself. After two years, he convinced his friends--the tunnel residents--to help him make the film, which was done entirely with borrowed equipment and donated film.
Because of the extreme conditions of the tunnel--pitch blackness and rat infestation, primarily--director Marc Singer had the tunnel's residents serve as the crew for the making of the film, as he decided they were most familiar with the tunnel's terrain.
When Amtrak tried to evict the residents of the tunnel, it was Singer who intervened, going to the Coalition for the Homeless for help. They cut a deal with the federal government and got funding to relocate the tunnel's residents. Each of them was given an apartment and a job in a work program.
DARK DAYS was named Best Documentary of 2000 by the Village Voice and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.