Clara | Thursday December 19th, 2013
The sun goes down, but the stars switch on. In the end, night always returns. A full stop in our day-to-day lives, a small break to rest and to get ready for what will come. But the city never sleeps, since there are many who wake up with the silence of nightfall. “Tomorrow is another day”. And tomorrow always arrives, but these night owls live life under the moonlight. So did the Austrian filmmaker Ivette Löcker to shoot NIGHT SHIFTS, a documentary that portrays different people who work and live at night in Berlin.
City lights in all possible colors only come to life in the dark, and they illuminate our heroes. NIGHT SHIFTS portrays the lives of some people who are invisible for those who live during daylight. Each of them experience the night in a different way; some see it as a peaceful and silent shelter. Others as an opportunity to commit illegal actions, or to have fun and enjoy freedom. On the other hand, some people only see the night as a better-paid work shift. “It was my intention to explore cinematically the tension between a pragmatic routine by which the night is spent or organized and the existential desires and fears that seem to be inevitably evoked” (Ivette Löcker, interview in DOKweb, 2011)
Darkness is the best setting to accomplish some of our deepest desires, which are often suppressed by the visibility of daylight. Here lies Löcker’s interest for the film’s subject; “The night offers us an alternative world where we can change into somebody else; where we can be free of daily restraints, where we can come close to our desires and dreams, but also to existential fears. I am attracted by this ambiguity between freedom and fear, by the tension between the magical sides of the night and its dangers.”
The lack of light does not prevent Ivette Löcker from getting close to her main characters and creating an intimate portrait of each of their realities. In the same city, she creates a collage of different stories, marked by the rhythm of, at turns, silence, loud music, and noises that during daytime go unnoticed.
Clara Rodríguez A.