For a movie that's so vague on the details, "Day Night Day Night" pays a lot of attention to details. I know, that sounds contradictory, but allow me to explain.
This award-winning minimalist film follows an unnamed 19-year-old, played by Luisa Williams, as she prepares to carry out a suicide bombing in Times Square. Writer and director Julia Loktev tells us almost nothing about the character referred to in press materials only as "She."
She has no discernable accent, looks "ethnic" (whatever that means), but could be any number of ethnicities. She seems to pray but we don't know to whom. We can't much about her from her clothes, either.
"She" is the only real character in the film. Others pop in and out for a moment, but for 94 minutes we watch her. She bathes, she sleeps, she walks, she frets, she seems oddly calm, she panics, she seems resolute.
By following the most intimate details so closely, Loktev builds tension, suspense and drama in a film that appears to not have much of any of that. The thing is, it's all there emanating from the slow, inevitable journey towards the act.
It's hard to despise this character, although you know you do. You see the faces around her as she walks through Times Square with a bomb on her back and you know that they will die if she goes through with it. And you know they don't deserve to.
At one point in the film, you can't help but get the sense that "She," too, starts to realize they don't deserve to die. Asking passersby for money to use the phone, she seems genuinely surprised by their willingness to help her out and to do it with a smile or a good word.
And you know it could be you just as easily as it could be those nameless faces on screen, headed to work, out shopping, walking down the street talking on a cell phone.
"Day Night Day Night" is a long, torturous journey into the mind of someone willing to die and to kill for their beliefs, whatever they may be. As a result it's both fascinating and terrifying.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.