Thursday, July 12, 2012

The City Dark

Release Date: 2011
Production Company: Wicked Delicate 
Director: Ian Cheney
Run time: Full Length is 84 minutes.  PBS version is 57 minutes.
Seen on: PBS's POV
Recommended: Yes, poses interesting questions
Watch NOW:, available until August 5, 2012

This documenary poses the question: "What do we lose when we lose the night?"

Director Ian Cheney compares the skies visible around the world.  He was raised in Maine, with amazing skies visible due to the lack of ambient light or light pollution.  After moving to New York City, he noted far fewer stars in the night sky.  The massive lights NYC is known to prevent one from seeing most stars.  He then wondered what the effects were of losing the connection to the night sky.

The film casts a broad net of what the night sky means for personal ego, health, endangered species, and mankind as a whole.  The film is broken into six parts, with each section posing questions to the next.  Because I watched the shorter PBS version, the film touches on each subject just enough to tantalize you and want you to learn more. 

I. The City Bright
II.  Islands of Dark
III. Nature and the Night
IV.  Night Shifts
V. Why We Light
VI.  Astrophilia

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Bronx-born astrophysicist, ends the documentary: “When you look at the night sky, you realize how small we are within the cosmos. It’s kind of a resetting of your ego. To deny yourself of that state of mind, either willingly or unwittingly, is to not live to the full extent of what it is to be human.”

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