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Critics Star-Struck by ‘The City Dark’

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Updated: As even more acclaim rolls in for The City Dark, we’ve added quotes below.

The City Dark has its PBS premiere tonight, July 5, 2012, on POV. Check your local listings to find out when to watch!

We love Ian Cheney’s stunningly beautiful, humorous and informative film about the effects of light pollution on our bodies, minds and skies — and critics do, too:

A documentary about light pollution that is entertaining and thought-provoking? It hardly seems possible, but that’s what Ian Cheney has made in The City Dark…This film makes you want to go find a starry sky to camp under quickly, before it’s all gone.”
Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

It changed the way I look at the city, the sky, the stars, and night itself.”
Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture

Poetic, at times profound…”
Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

An informative, well-rounded look at light pollution told with a star-gazing enthusiast’s passion for his subject.”
Jay Weissberg, Variety

An absolutely beautiful film from its quiet, nostalgic beginning to the final rapid-fire revelations from the compelling individuals we meet throughout…”
Nick GioBarbieri, The Austinist

Crafted as a mournful meditation that is both sobering and sublime, personal and global for Cheney, The City Dark is a simultaneously poetic and political challenge to the entire notion of human progress.”
Prairie Miller, News Blaze

An illuminating documentary about what constant exposure to artificial light does to our bodies, our minds and the natural world.”
Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

This year one of the true standout films… very entertaining and thought-provoking… The City Dark is quite humorous, visually engaging and will hold your attention throughout.”
Garry Denny, Wisconsin Public Television

“Visually arresting and even hypnotic…It’s an eye-opener.”
Charles Cassady, Jr., Cleveland Movie Blog

“Elegant and poetic…Ian Cheney has built a bridge with this documentary, hoping to give us a new appreciation for the jewels of the darkened sky. A love story that reminds us of our ancestral past and, as [astrophysicist Neil deGrasse] Tyson comments, ‘our place in the cosmos.’”
Jana J. Monji, Chicago Sun-Times

“An elegy for the star-spackled skies of Cheney’s Maine upbringing and his challenges in his adopted home of Brooklyn…Wondrous pictures of the stars and galaxies twinkle and glitter to dreamy music.”
Roger Catlin Online

“Illuminating…I hadn’t given much thought to light pollution until I watched The City Dark…Definitely worth watching, even if you have a lovely view of the night sky right outside your window.”
Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY

Tune in to PBS tonight to watch The City Dark (check your local listings), or stream it online starting Friday, July 6, 2012.

Then visit us on Twitter @povdocs, Facebook, or our companion site for The City Dark to tell us what you think!

The City Dark airs tonight at 10 PM on PBS stations. Keep up with all of this season’s films at, on Twitter @povdocs or on Facebook.

POV Staff
POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 300 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.
  • Oakridgemama

    I tuned out after the comment by a Staten Island astronomer who said “Americans are not know for their knowledge.” Did this guy miss the Manhattan Project, the Space Race, the advent of the PC, and the current biomedical advances, most of which are developed in the US?

  • Marcy Rieser

    This show blew me away seeing how light disorients baby turtles racing to find the ocean, and thousands of birds running into buildings. Light is our friend and enemy I miss looking up in my backyard and only seeing the Big Dipper knowing i’m missing a sky full of stars. I hope more people watch this film it’s great.

  • Ruth D. Rogers

    How can I purchase a copy of DVD for The City Darkl?  Would like to use in my Learning in Retirement group.