Price: $350.00

    Code: 2466

    Directed by Lynne Sachs
    2013, 64 minutes
    In Chinese, English & Spanish with English Subtitles
    Purchase: $350 | Classroom rental: $125
    Call us at 212-685-6242 for special non-profit, public library, and K-12 pricing.

    Blending autobiographical monologues, intimate conversations, and staged performances, Lynne Sachs' Your Day Is My Night documents the lives of Chinese immigrants sharing a "shift-bed" apartment in the heart of New York City's Chinatown, offering a deeply felt portrait of the Asian-American immigrant experience.

    Initially documented in Jacob Riis' late 19th century photographs, a shift-bed is a bed that is shared or rented by people who are neither in the same family nor in a relationship. Since the advent of tenement housing in the Lower East Side, working class people have shared beds, making such spaces a definable and fundamental part of immigrant life. Over a century later, the shift-bed remains a necessity for many, triggered by socio-economic barriers embedded within the urban experience.

    In this captivating hybrid documentary, seven characters ranging in age from 58 to 78 play themselves and recount real experiences from their lives. Retired seamstresses Ellen Ho and Sheut Hing Lee recall growing up in China during the turmoil of the 1950s when their families faced violence and separation under Chairman Mao's revolutionary yet authoritarian regime. Yun Xiu Huang, a nightclub owner from Fujian province, reveals his journey to the United States through the "snakehead" system, a complex underground economy of human smuggling.

    As the bed transforms into a stage, the film reveals a collective history of Chinese immigrants in the United States. Through it all, Your Day is My Night addresses issues around privacy, intimacy, otherness, belonging and the urban experience via the basic human need of a place to sleep.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Winner, Best Feature Documentary, San Diego Asian Film Festival, 2013
    * Winner, Best Feature Film, Workers Unite! Film Festival, 2013
    * Official Selection, Documentary Fortnight, Museum of Modern Art, 2013
    * Official Selection, Ann Arbor Film Festival, 2013
    * Official Selection, Vancouver International Film Festival, 2013
    * Official Selection, Western Psychological Association Film Festival, 2014


    "An evocative portrait of a stratum of immigrant life that is not well known...What emerges from this meditative, at times melancholy, depiction of the immigrant experience is the residents’ sense of resourcefulness and maintenance of dignity." – Booklist

    "I recommend this film to be included into a public library or academic library that has a large Asian American existing collections or serves Asian populations." - Linda Yau, Bronx Community College Library, Educational Media Reviews Online

    "A lyrical glimpse of migrants eking out new lives in New York City. Great for moving past stereotypes and abstractions to encounter the agency and limits of real people. Ideal to spark group discussions about a complex topic." - Jack Tchen, Director of the Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program and Institute at New York University

    "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." –The Nation

    "Beautifully blending anecdotes, evocative audio textures, and an ensemble of elderly immigrant performers/participants, Your Day is My Night is sumptuous and exploratory, bringing us a Chinatown we have never seen before in film.” – San Diego Asian Film Festival

    "Using beds as a metaphor for privacy, intimacy and power, the film explores intercultural and trans-historical dialogue." – The Washington Post

    "Director Lynne Sachs’ Your Day is My Night shines a light on a little documented sub-culture in New York’s Chinatown, chronicling immigrants who live communally in buildings where there’s a shift-bed system. One person returns from a stint of overnight work to sleep in a bed just vacated by another person off to their day job. The form of this documentary is as compelling as its content. It is a beautiful collage of different media and music intricately edited together with the often emotional testimony of the immigrants.” – BBC

    "New York’s Chinatown, a place as much spectral as real, flickers and flares into life in this singular hybrid of documentary, performance piece and cine-monologue. Seven working-class, immigrant residents of a shift-bed apartment play versions of themselves, recalling violent upheavals, long journeys and endless yearnings." – Sight and Sound

    "This is no ordinary documentary. This is film, a canvas, a moving poem. It never stands still. It moves and it moves us." – J.P. Devine,Kennebec Journal/ Morning Star

    "Teaching at a public university where many of the undergraduates are immigrants or children of immigrants, I look out for films to teach that can simultaneously give expression to their life stories and allow them to reflect on filmic narrative as form. Your Day is My Night is such a film. Through its subtle mix of "documentary," improvised, and scripted scenarios, Sachs undertakes a sensitive and inventive collaboration with Chinese immigrants in New York's Chinatown. Weaving singular stories of people who find themselves without family in a new land into a collective portrait of displacement, longing, and survival, the film is a collaborative work of translation. I am struck by the way the telling of each person's immigrant journey combines matter-of-fact directness with turbulent chapters from Chinese history. There are several dimensions of Your Day is My Night I want my students to study: how a historical-mythical quality of life can be generated from the prosaic; how the performance of, and the work of, everyday life can help create affect and form; and the way this particular story, set in the early 21st Century, is part of the narrative of immigrant life in the longue duree of New York, and "the new world."- Simon Leung, Professor of Art,University of California, Irvine, New Genres, Critical Theory, Contemporary Art History, Performance


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