Dark Days (Sundance 2000)

This film follows a group of people living in an abandoned section of the New York City underground railway system, more precisely the area of the so called Freedom Tunnel. After living with them for a number of months, Marc Singer decided to create a documentary.
This is a noble film worthy of our attention.
He just started hanging out and making friends in his neighbourhood. He met one guy who mentioned the tunnels. He heard that you could build a house down there and live somewhat normally but still be homeless. And that just fascinated him so Singer went exploring.
There is some crime, but it’s not total anarchy. Boundaries are almost always respected, and there is a sense of uneasy camaraderie among these people.
Dark Days is an eye-opening experience that shatters the myths of homelessness by revealing a thriving community living in tunnels beneath New York City and honestly capturing their resilience and strength in their struggle to survive.

This documentary helps to change negative perceptions of the homeless. But Singer doesn't want the film to make us feel guilty that we are living comfortably while somebody else is on the street. Singer focuses on the positive things people try to do for themselves. And most importantly he gave every homeless person involved in its making a percentage. The only thing that stood in the way of Singer's idea and its execution was that he knew absolutely nothing about filmmaking, or even still photography
He assembled a group of the tunnel homeless to be his camera loaders, sound recorders, electricians and equipment manufacturers. Such a crew would add to the authentically personal feel of the film and solve the problem of finding a professional crew willing to endure tunnel conditions for that long.
Dark Days's urban wasteland aesthetic is sort of Lynchian in its ironic beauty.
This is unique among documentaries because of Singer's sensitive treatment. There are shots in Dark Days that rank with the best black-and-white photojournalism pieces of the '30s and '40s. Singer's attention to detail rightly deserved the Cinematography Award at Sundance
You can buy Dark Days.


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