Top 100 Films – #100 – Dark Days (2000)

Dark Days is a documentary released in 2000, that gave a harrowing account of a whole new civilization hiding underground in the abandoned section of the New York subway system.  The film was shot and directed by Marc Singer who lived in the underground system for a few months. Documentaries give the opportunity to give an ordinary viewer a look into new worlds that one could not understand or even imagine to live within. Dark Days is an example of this. The inner workings of the community, lays with it their own rules and tribulations. A inner justice system of respect and honor, combated with the dog eat dog world this community holds.

The film is shot in black and white and damaged film was used for budgetary reasons, but only adds to the visual grit of this film.  It follows personal accounts of how one would find themselves living in subway tunnels. It highlights the poverty issue within New York, the health issue of living in the subway system and the community being given eviction notices by the state.  The film crew were the subjects of the documentary, with makeshift lighting and makeshift dollies adding to the amateurish style of the film

Dark Days is a rough but genuine documentary, that provides a platform for stories of each member of the community to be told. A community, forgotten and ignored, I was absolutely bewildered about the lack of knowledge I knew of these people and how one could survive in the tunnels of New York. It is not a flashy, well rendered documentary but with the subject matter, the visual style and shoe string budget  compliments the film. Dark Days is a film that  is like no other giving a glimpse into the wonders and horrors of a close knit community hidden from the outside world.

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