My Nights Glow Yellow
Oct 4, 2023
Michelle Mao, Matt McGorry, Yvette Lu
Indeed Rising Voices presents filmmaker Hannah Bang and her short film My Nights Glow Yellow - a foreboding look into what would happen if humans could capitalize on loneliness.
Whilst a platonic companion-for-hire wrestles with her own longing for true connection, this short film takes a quiet and contemplative look at what it truly means to feel alone. Hannah Bang’s film explores an incredibly fascinating concept, which feels like something out of a Black Mirror episode. It holds an almost-dystopian look at capitalism and how people can charge for their time.
Protagonist, K (Michelle Mao), appears to have a desire for order and sense in the midst of a chaotic world. But as the storyline unravels, the viewer is offered a greater sense of her feelings of frustration and futility. She lives with her sister and seemingly has no connection to her, despite being needed by her - all of which contributes to a very sad reality. Her encounters with supposed strangers who have paid for her time feel disjointed and meaningless, as they appear to be getting satisfaction out of socializing, but it doesn’t truly mean anything.
Through her work, Bang delves into the intricacies of what it truly means to be human through her characters, as each person craves more. The performances offered from Mao and Matt McGorry (Michael) in particular are brilliant, as their chemistry is great to watch. K’s apparent need to work hard, whilst Michael begins to take advantage of her time, is compelling as the film hints at the dangers of what happens when a person crosses the boundaries between companionship and financial gain.
This foreboding film is situated amongst some clever camera angles and shots of electric yellow imagery, from egg yolks, to flames, to cakes. It is bright and beautifully captured, with striking golden tones offering gorgeous shots of the city. Yet, at the same time, there is a sense of unease perforating the screen whilst watching. The viewer cannot help but feel unsettled, as the direction of the film feels unclear - and then suddenly it all makes perfect sense.
My Nights Glow Yellow is a beautifully tragic and yet strangely empowering watch. It explores the futuristic idea that a person can use their hard-earned money to pay for what - or who - they want and, whilst that comes at a price, it is certainly intriguing to witness.
Hannah Bang is a South Korean writer/director with a love for stories about complex and imperfect people. She is currently developing her first feature film, Husk.