They say we live in a bubble. What many people fail to realize is that the bubble in question looks like and feels like a giant light bulb. In that giant light bulb we humans continue to lose touch with anything beyond our own urban cityscape. Now with half of the world's population living in urban centers people continue to lose their connection to the heavens and stars.
The City Dark (playing at the 2012 San Francisco Green Film Festival) addresses the questions surrounding the problem of light pollution in our society. Writer/director Ian Cheney takes a journey from his rural upbringing in Maine to New York City and examines how modern society continues to place an emphasis on “bright lights, big city” mentality while ignoring the light pollution impact on people, animals, and the environment.
Cheney creates stirring night light images and adds flavorful animation as well as a rhythmic soundtrack to create cohesion in the dark. He brings up many well researched points including the possible effects of cancer rates and night shift workers exposed to lights, as well as the harmful effects that light pollution has on turtle migration and bird flight patterns.
Like a bird that runs smack into an over lit skyscraper, The City Dark contains some abrupt transitions such as the section involving a cancer patient who hosted a late night TV show for many years.
Although interesting and informative the film could have created more of a “call to action” for people wishing to further explore the possibilities of change. Even so, Cheney exemplifies his passion for demonstrating how the pollution in our cities is not relegated to the land and waterways.