IMDb > The City Dark (2011)
The City Dark
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The City Dark (2011) More at IMDbPro »

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The City Dark -- A documentary on the loss of light around the world and its possible effects.


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7.1/10   290 votes »
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Down 13% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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Release Date:
March 2011 (USA) See more »
A search for night on a planet that never sleeps See more »
THE CITY DARK is a feature documentary about the loss of night. After moving to NYC from rural Maine... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
4 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A Film that Shines a Bright Light on the Question of Artificial Lighting. See more (1 total) »

Directed by
Ian Cheney 
Produced by
Simon Beins .... associate producer
Colin Cheney .... co-producer
Ian Cheney .... producer
Curt Ellis .... associate producer
Julia Marchesi .... co-producer
Domenic Romano .... associate producer
Tamara Rosenberg .... co-producer
Original Music by
Simon Beins 
Benjamin Fries 
Cinematography by
Ian Cheney 
Taylor Gentry 
Film Editing by
Ian Cheney  (as Lindsey Plumb)
Frederick Shanahan 
Sound Department
Peter Levin .... re-recording mixer
Barbara Parks .... sound editor
Visual Effects by
Sharon Shattuck .... digital effects
Animation Department
Sharon Shattuck .... animator
Tim Van Horn .... animator
Other crew
Domenic Romano .... legal counsel

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial Effects

Additional Details

Also Known As:
83 min
Filming Locations:


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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
A Film that Shines a Bright Light on the Question of Artificial Lighting., 16 March 2011
Author: JustCuriosity from Austin, TX, United States

In many ways the most complex issue that we face as a civilization are the trade offs between the costs and benefits of modernity. One of the most trans-formative changes of the last century has been the massive expansion of artificial light which has transformed our concepts of natural daylight and darkness and in so doing transformed our way of life. Thomas Edison's electric light bulb is in many ways the core invention of our modern way of life. Artificial lighting represents one of humankind's greatest triumphs over the natural world. But at the same kind, artificial lighting has remarkable, and usually unremarked, upon costs.

The City Dark takes on the challenge of trying to understand what we are losing through the loss of darkness. The City Dark has been filmed in a beautiful and elegant style – a sort of visual poetry that draws the viewer in. The beauty of the filming and insights of the interviews literally paint us picture of the costs of electric lighting. The film is an enchanting philosophical study of how artificial light is changing our lives in profound ways. It explores how we are becoming disconnected from our natural surroundings – particularly the stars of the night sky that are being lost to light pollution in our urban areas. Its biggest flaw is that it spends too much time on how we've lost contact with the beauty of the night sky before getting to the more intriguing ways in which artificial lighting is affecting the well-being of our society. The later parts of the film examine how our changes to the lighting environment are harming the wildlife - such as turtles and birds. It also explores how lighting may be having deleterious effects on human health in profound and unexpected ways.

This film literally asks us to considering the costs of our modernity, science and indeed literally of our enlightenment. Those are questions that we need to be asking in our modern, scientific world as we come to realize the costs of our modern way of life.

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