On July 15, The DocYard series, running Monday nights at the Brattle Theatre, will host writer-director Lynne Sachs and her gorgeous, intimate look inside one very crowded New York Chinatown apartment, Your Day Is My Night.
A couple of years ago, when I was just beginning the work on my most recent film Your Day is My Night, I happened to notice an astonishing photo essay by Annie Ling in the New York Times. Annie had spent a year taking a series of exquisite photographs of a group of residents living at 81 Bowery Street in Chinatown. It became clear to me that the work she was doing corresponded on multiple levels with my own film project on the shift-bed houses of Chinatown. I decided to contact Annie so we could talk about our shared interests.
In May of 1968, nine individuals shook the conscience of the nation as they burned U.S. Selective Service records with home-made napalm on the grounds of the Catonsville, Maryland Knights of Columbus hall. The fire they started erupted into an infamous trial where the nine were defended by William Kuntsler. The news spread throughout the country, influencing other similar dynamic actions in every major U.S. city. Two of the original members of the Nine will be on hand to talk about their experiences – about how they met and their stand against U.S. militarization in Latin America. We will also be joined by two scholars who will help us connect this story with the larger context of Vietnam War era protests.
In 1986, filmmaker Lynne Sachs saw Chris Marker’s “Sans Soleil”. Soon after, she wrote Marker a fan letter along with a personal interpretation of the film to which he surprisingly responded. They soon met, marking the beginning of a twenty-five-year friendship that culminated in 2007 when Sachs assisted Marker on one of his projects. In her presentation, Sachs will explore their shared interest in the film portrait. The talk will examine “pieces” by both Marker and Sachs and the ways in which each artist combines cinematic fragments to document the complexities of real people’s lives.
In this provocative, hybrid documentary, the audience joins a present-day household of immigrants living together in a shift-bed apartment in the heart of Chinatown. Seven characters (ages 58-78) play themselves through autobiographical monologues, verité conversations, and theatrical movement pieces.
New York experimental documentary director Lynne Sachs got her start in film at DCTV in the mid 1980s. Over the last three decades, she’s explored the relationship between her own personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together film, collage, painting, and sound design.
How do you return to a sensation of not knowing when you do indeed now know? I am going to try to revisit the days before Hurricane Sandy, to piece together the moments and the sensations we all experienced prior, during and after the storm.