Night Labor (72 minutes) follows Sherman Frank Merchant, a forty-six year old 6'6" Downeaster during his transition from an independent and rugged clam digger by day to manning a factory at night. With his white smock, arsenal of knives, and signature black beret, Sherman performs the tasks of preparing and arranging tools for the day laborers who arrive to their 6am shift.
Night Labor is an intimate experience of what the film critic J. Hoberman calls “situation documentary,” a blending of minimally structured narratives with documentary moments and long takes that elide conventional narrative and plot in favor of mood, lyrical entertainment, and banal mystery. Night Labor is a beautifully photographed story that fuses drama and tension in the mundane sensory experiences of work, ultimately relying on cinema’s most basic powerful elements: image and sound.
Film Festival Screenings
Festival dei Popoli, November 30-December 7, 2013, Florence, Italy
RIDM, November 13-24, 2013, Montreal
Camden International Film Festival, September 26-29, 2013, Camden, Maine
Saratov Sufferings Film Festival, September 14-20, 2013, Russia
Lussadoc, August 19, France
World Premiere: Visions du Reel, April 19-26, 2013, Switzerland, Special Jury Prize
"Night Labor, by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin (Girl Model, Downeast), is a collection of vignettes from the life of a rangy, raw-boned Mainer who leaves his hermit’s hollow to work the lonely night shift at a lobster processing plant. Save for the sound of its subject’s Popeye-like under-his-breath muttering as he goes about his rounds, the film is almost entirely free of dialogue, though it has a simple but totally engrossing, process-oriented hook—watching the preparation of a factory floor, we see the readying of mysterious implements whose use will only become evident at the film’s climax." Artforum
"Though it chronicles a quotidian workday, every shot of David Redmon and Ashley Sabin’s Night Labor is an opportunity for revelation." Film Comment
"Night Labor is a lingeringly powerful film – the perfect capper to an enjoyably discombobulating day at RIDM." Adam Nayman, POV Magazine
10 Montreal RIDM Festival Movies That Shouldn't Be Missed-MTL Blog
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