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By Phil Hall | February 16, 2007

“The Days and the Hours” is a moving documentary short that takes place entirely within the pews of St. Boniface Church in the Tenderloin section of San Francisco. The church opens its doors to the local homeless population, who find shelter from the night on the hard wooden pews.

As the camera observes the sleeping homeless, off-screen voices provide the stories behind the men and women seeking shelter. Each came to homelessness through their own personal misfortune: a truck driver lost his work when he developed epilepsy, an antiques dealer was unable to find another job after being laid off, a cashier went broke when his health deteriorated, a bank teller developed a coke habit. The voices recall homes, parties, pets and belongings that once brought them great pride. In their current lives, however, they are jostled from their sleep by the church’s janitors and are literally swept out of doors with the sunrise.

Filmmakers John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson crafted a deeply disturbing and utterly compelling work of art in “The Days and the Hours.” The film is only eight minutes long, but it speaks volumes on the pain of those who literally require the kindness of strangers to last from day to day.

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