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Patricia Rozema was raised as a Calvinist in Canada, and saw no films until she was In this she resembles her co-religionist Paul Schraderwho saw his first film at when night is falling lesbian scene the same age, and went on to write " Taxi Driver " and direct " American Gigolo.
One suspects an element of autobiography. Rozema's first feature was the enchanting " I've Heard the Mermaids Singing "the story of a young Toronto woman who dreams of becoming a photographer and goes to work for a sophisticated older woman who runs an art gallery. The young woman idealizes the older one but discovers secrets about her: She is a lesbian, and she is bitter about being a dealer rather than an artist. The film is ingenious in that it seems to be about the young narrator and ends up being at least as much about the woman she gets a crush on.
Now comes "When Night is Falling," again about a young woman, this one a professor in a Protestant theological college in Toronto. Then one day at a laundromat she encounters a woman her age named Petra Rachael Crawfordtheir laundry is exchanged - not by accident - and when Camille returns Petra's clothes, Petra looks at her solemnly and says, "I'd love to see you in the moonlight with your head thrown back and your body on fire. Slow down, girl! Camille is shocked and tells Petra she has made a mistake. But she hasn't, and Camille finds herself increasingly fascinated by Petra whose name may or may not be inspired by the heroine of "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant," Fassbinder's film about lesbianism.
The film until this point is absorbing and sensible, but then it begins to go wrong. The emotional center is sound; we believe the growing attraction the two women feel for each other, but the details of their stories seem contrived and awkward.
Petra, for example, is a little too good to be true; she is a member of a circus troupe modeled on Cirque du Soleil, and her act not terribly difficult although she isn't very good at it consists of juggling balls of light in pantomime from behind a backlit screen. First seen in skin-tight leather not strictly necessary since she is seen only as a shadowshe appears in a series of bizarre "artistic" costumes that hammer home the point: She is a wild free spirit, offering Camille the choice of remaining in the drab Calvinist environment, or running away and ing the circus.
Does the symbolism feel just slightly strained when Camille seeks out Petra a second time, and Petra takes her on a surprise hang-gliding date? Camille's relationship with Martin is strained and unconvincing despite their sex scene together, they don't seem to know each other very well.
When she and Martin are offered the job of college co-chaplains, but only if they marry, she wears one of Petra's wildly inappropriate blouses to the first interview, and stumbles through a later interview deed to test her soundness on the question of homosexuality. When DeBoer unexpectedly visits her apartment while Petra is there, Camille behaves so strangely that she seems to be concealing not lesbianism but a panic attack. The mechanics of the story are awkward. Martin discovers the affair through a convenient photograph, and by peering through a window of Petra's trailer.
Petra sets an artificial deadline because the circus is leaving town. The women have ludicrous misunderstandings. Oh, and there's Bob, Camille's beloved dog, "who I realize I love more than anyone I'm supposed to love. The ending of the movie completely derails. Leave out such details as that Petra is able to arrive at the side of the frozen body well before the ambulance does.
Put aside problems of continuity. Forget even Bob's remarkable reappearance in the end credits. Laughter is the friend of romance but the enemy of sexual passion which seems funny only to the observerand "When Night is Falling" has too many unintended laughs for its passion to be convincing.
We start out nodding solemnly in sympathy with Camille and Petra. We share their angst. We care about their happiness. But then we start to snicker, and all is lost. This movie needed a strict rewrite, preferably by an unsmiling Calvinist. I couldn't find anything in the film's sweet sex scenes to justify other than an R rating. When night is falling lesbian scene Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from until his death in Inhe won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.
Pascale Bussieres as Camille. Rachael Crawford as Petra. Henry Czerny as Martin. David Fox as Reverend Deboer. Reviews When Night Is Falling. Roger Ebert November 24, Now streaming on:. Powered by JustWatch. She lives in a trailer decorated like an ecological hippie gift shop. I shouldn't have left the theater worrying about what was going to happen to Bob. Now playing. How It Ends Peter Sobczynski. The Legend of the Underground Robert Daniels.
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When Night Is Falling