Your Day Is My Night

Rental Format(s): Digital File
Sale Format(s): DVD

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 of privacy, intimacy, belonging and the urban experience via the basic human need for a place to sleep.


"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." - Kennebec Journal/ Morning Star (


* Winner, Best Feature Documentary, San Diego Asian Film Festival, 2013
* Winner, Best Feature Film, Workers Unite! Film Festival, 2013
* Winner, Best Experimental Film, Traverse City Film Festival, 2013
* Winner, 2nd Prize Documentary Feature, Athens Film Festival, 2013
* Official Selection, Documentary Fortnight, Museum of Modern Art, 2013
* Official Selection, Ann Arbor Film Festival, 2013
* Official Selection, Beijing Women's Film Festival, 2014
* Official Selection, Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennale, 2014

Additional Screenings:
National Gallery of Art "American Originals"; Images Festival, Toronto; Athens Film Festival (2nd Prize Documentary Feature); Opening Night Film "Workers Unite Film Festival" Cinema Village, NYC (First Prize Feature Narrative); Athens Film Festival (2nd Prize Feature Doc); Senior Planet Exploration Center, NYC; Vancouver Film Festival; New Orleans Film Festival; One of the Best Films of 2013 (Sight and Sound Magazine); One of Eight Films to See in 2014 (BBC); Festival de Cine Documental (EDOCS) 2014, Ecuador; Maine Int? l Film Festival.

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