From Third Beach 1

Mark Lewis’ short film From Third Beach 1 (2010) quotes the classic cinematic technique of “day for night”: the light of the sun is manipulated to stand in for the luminescence of the moon. Until the 1960’s and the advent of higher speed film, the “day for night” technique was the predominant method of creating a night-time effect in cinema and produced a highly stylised and formal image that bore little resemblance to the actual appearance of night, even during a full moon.

Lewis shot From Third Beach 1 in the middle of the day on Vancouver’s Third Beach. The artist was interested to reveal and foreground the kind of moving image usually seen only briefly, often as backdrop projection. The brevity of its appearance in a film and the narrative drama that is often taking place in front of it conspire to hide the sheer beauty of a “day for night film”, its sheer inventiveness as a cinematic form of depiction. In French cinematography in particular, the “day for night” effect became known as la nuit Americaine, directly referencing its Hollywood origin. In From Third Beach 1, Lewis makes it the protagonist itself.

Mark Lewis lives and works in London, UK.


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