Through the Night | Chicago Reader

Through the Night

Loira Limbal's feature directorial debut is likewise heartening and heart-rending as it presents a 24-hour daycare in New Rochelle, New York; Limbal has discussed in interviews the concept of conveying tenderness as both a political ideology and an aesthetic, a symbiosis that’s aptly reflected in this quietly profound documentary. Centered on Dee's Tots and its owners—husband-and-wife duo Deloris (“Nunu”) and Patrick Hogan, who, along with a few family members and employees, comprise the staff—the film employs a vérité perspective to convey the arduous ins and outs of running a 24-hour, at-home daycare. In addition to those running it, the film features some of the families it serves, each of whom relies on the Hogans’ unparalleled flexibility, from a nurse who works overnight to a woman who has to maintain several jobs because she can’t find one that provides enough hours, much less benefits. Limbal explores various interpretations of what it means to be a caregiver and how those doing it perform exhausting, often thankless tasks with little help from the government. The film subtly exposes a system that wasn't designed to help those who need it most; Limbal and editor Malika Zouhali-Worrall compose a penetrating text that says more than what’s revealed on screen, with invisible footnotes elucidating the socio-political climate in which such crises originate. Most importantly, however, Limbal crafts a portrait of some truly extraordinary people, whom the audience comes away better for now knowing.


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