2002 . 16 minutes 35 seconds . 35mm and 16mm
Available on the DVD "Intolerable Questions" at amazon.com
Available for festival and gallery rental through the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre
Life’s riot of sights and sounds are jumbled together like a film projected in one frame – an album played in one note. Shot over six years, No Day No Night is a collage that strikes at the foundation of reality, identity and perception.
Kevin Silva – The Voice
Jason Shald – Martin
Prya Patil – She
Sandra Kelberlau – Woman
Carolyn Baeumler – Voice Over Woman
Douglas Bost – Voice Over Man
David Baeumler – Writer, Director, Camera, Editor, Music
Devin Terpstra – Production Assistant
Chris O’Neil – Additional Camera
Jason Dowdle – Additional Camera
Filmed on location in cities all over the world
FESTIVAL SCREENINGS (2003 unless noted)
10th Biennial of Moving Images – Geneva, Switzerland
Revelation Film Fest – Perth, Australia
New Haven Film Festival – New Haven, Connecticut (Audience Award Best Short)
Niagara Community College -Niagara Falls, New York (Winner Best Film, Best Experimental)
New Filmmakers Series at Anthology Film Archives – New York, New York
VisionFest – New York, New York
Cucalorus Film Festival – Wilmington, North Carolina
Sacramento Film Festival – Sacramento, California
Berkeley Film Festival – Berkeley, Caolifornia(Award of Excellence Experimental)
Olympia Film Festival – Olympia, Washington
Gurnsey Lily International Film Festival – Very High Commendation – UK
Beyond/In Western New York – Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York (2005)
Echo Park Film Center - Los Angeles, California (2006)
Film Threat – May 20, 2003 - Daniel Wible
(Review at FilmThreat.com)
One of the best moments from last year’s underrated “Rules of Attraction” was a dazzling, 5-minute montage/travelogue of one character’s whirlwind European vacation. Visually frenetic and morally questionable, the segment left me at once giddy with vicarious fun seeking and also slightly nauseous. David Baeumler’s exceptional short film, “No Day No Night”, is like a philosophical, extended (though not by much) variation on that scene. Beyond the MTV-style cutting and chaotic pacing however, the two bear little resemblance. “NDNN” is indeed a similarly breathless pastiche of sights and sounds, though it doesn’t exactly tell a story so much as it poses questions. The Big questions. “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is love?” “Who let the dogs out?” As such, the film is not really a work of fiction or non-fiction; it’s more like an academic postulation, and on the very meaning of existence no less.
Okay, so… no plot, no main characters, philosophically dense, entirely narrated by voice over. Sounds boring, right? Or at least like some overtly pretentious student film? “NDNN” is nothing of the sort. It’s directed, or rather edited, with such fluid grace and postmodern lyricism that it ends up being a most intriguing 17 minutes of film. Literally opening with the narration of the first two questions listed above (the last one was a joke for those confused, you know who you are), “NDNN” is divided into three segments. Preceding the first segment is a preamble about the frailty of human life, which immediately sets the tone for things to come. The first segment concerns a man named Martin who’s struggling to come to grips with a recent breakup. Martin’s memory of his relationship is like a favorite song condensed into one piercing sound. This sound is repeated continuously over still images of Martin’s ex, as they flash through his shattered mind.
The second segment is a about a nameless young woman who wanders through life as a lost and confused child. Her memories of the many places she’s been have coalesced into one overlapping, flickering image. But has she really been to these places she remembers? Was that really her in her memories? It all seems so surreal… so uncertain.
The third and final chapter of the film features a man and a woman, presumably a couple, who are only heard in voice over. The man insists that everyone around them looks familiar. Very familiar. In fact, they are all the same, different, yet the same. The narrator considers the “facts” and then concludes: there is no “you”, no “I”, no “day”, no “night”, and hence the title of this little gem.
Clearly, the hypnotic style exhibited here has become a cliché since the advent of music videos. Yet Baeumler injects new life to this “genre” with a mastery of found footage (I’m assuming) and vivid sound mixing. The questions posed here (regarding the uncertainty of memory, the mutability of identity, the end of love, the theory of synchronicity, etc.) are fascinating, though maybe not exactly revelatory. Indeed, Baeumler’s direction of the material is assured, but the real star of this show is the narrator, Kevin Silva. His diction, delivered like an existentialist public service announcer, is both captivating and at times chilling. It recalls the absurdist tone of Baz Luhrmann’s novelty hit, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”. In short, “NDNN” is a mind-blowing short from a promising new voice.
New Haven Advocate – September 18, 2003 - Christopher Arnott
No Day No Night ups the oddness ante at this dark mid-afternoon screening. It's a fascinating, bizarre blur of brief clips--from still lifes to travelogues to shots of fashion models--that add up to an engrossing collage of life crises.
Existentialism is so often rendered as slow and boring. This time it's hectic and jerky, with a 1950s-style documentary voiceover that is the film's main unifying element. Serious fans of Russ Meyer will recognize the style, which is similar to the non-sexy intros Meyer gave some of his early films. You might also be reminded of some of the attempts to visualize Marshall McLuhan's media explorations in the 1960s.
But those are obscure and obtuse comparisons that don't get to the heart of No Day No Night. The heart of it is that this strange, disorienting, higglety-pigglety film has a lot of heart and a racing mind amid its flurry of found, freshly created and roundly tweaked images.
It's the kind of short work that gives FilmFest a real purpose. Where else are you gonna find stuff like this?
REVelation Film Festival 2003 Program
Experimental works have always had a place during Revelation and this lyrical
work is one of the best we've seen for this year. Shot over a six year period and
at locations around the globe it is a fine collage work made up of impulses,
thoughts and existentialist philosophy. Smooth and hypnotic work.
Film Threat - March 21, 2005 - David Finkelstein
(Review at FilmThreat.com)
"Who am I? Why am I here?" These are the opening questions in this
philosophically inclined essay film. "No Day No Night" explores the issues of
identity and meaning through three prose poems, delivered in a smooth
voice-over narration by Kevin Silva, sounding rather like the narrator of a
menacing and confusing educational film. In one story a man named Martin
moves to a strange city, following a lover who left him for no apparent reason.
He tries to make friends there, but ends up deciding that he doesn't actually like
people, but still needs them all the same. In a second story, a woman travels
frantically from city to city, in an apparent attempt to escape her overwhelming
anger and to create a sense of disconnected meaninglessness, which fails. In a
third story, told partly through dialogue, a man slowly realizes that he feels as if
every single person within his line of sight is someone he has known intimately
in the past. The final section sums up the idea: because we are all the same
age (i.e. mortal, potentially one moment from death) the differences between
people are an illusion. In fact, the multiplicity of surfaces and moments in life is
an illusion obscuring an underlying unity.
The language of these prose poems is strange, poetic and well-written. (When
Martin searches for companionship in a record shop, the shop is referred to as
a "hoverpad of insecurity.") Baeumler's ear for language is precise and the
writing is always surprising, pointed, and evocative.
The images which accompany this narration form a highly effective visual
collage. Full of quick cuts, the multitude of rapidly alternating images sometimes
directly illustrate the text, and sometimes comment on it in an ironic way. (When
the narrator suggests that a person might be trying to "hide something," we see
an image of a person being brutally attacked.) Just as often, the images don't
particularly illustrate the text, but merely create a sense of rhythm and mood
which highlight the feeling of uncanny menace in the film. Many of the images
play with fast, shaking camera movements which create blurs of light. The
constant interplay between narration and image, sometimes reinforcing each
other, sometimes playing against each other, is a major source of interest and
strength in the film.
Yet a third element in the film's structure is the underlying music, mostly
electronic, which skillfully underlines the feeling of obsession and disorientation
in the story. Occasionally, all three elements fuse together into a remarkable
musical whole, as in one sequence in which the man's panic at his own
experience of déjà vu rises to a crescendo, culminating in the sound of a bell,
matched by the frantic images which suddenly come to stillness on an image of
the moon. The complex, expressive and poetic counterpoint which Baeumler
achieves by weaving together music, voice, and images is intricate, skillful and