Published on The Nation (http://www.thenation.com) March 11, 2013
February in New York City brings the Documentary Fortnight program at the Museum of Modern Art, which this year included the world premiere of a remarkable project titled Your Day Is My Night by Lynne Sachs. In January 2011, Sachs began working with middle-aged and elderly residents of shift-bed apartments in New York’s Chinatown; immigrants are jammed into closetlike shared rooms, and the beds are in use around the clock. Sachs gained the confidence of these people, heard their stories, assisted as they worked up monologues about their pasts and helped shape the results into a film, which features performances by several of the subjects themselves. Made with collaborators including cinematographer Sean Hanley and composer Stephen Vitiello, it’s a strikingly handsome, meditative work: a mixture of reportage, dreams, memories and playacting, which immerses you in an entire world that you might unknowingly pass on the corner of Hester Street, unable to guess what’s behind the fifth-floor windows.
by Stuart Klawans