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on June 24, 2004
I'll have to admit..I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body!
Nothing is more enjoyable than to see a successful love relatioship between two women. Unfortunately, in movies (major and independents) nothing is more rare! I am so tired of self hating lesbian directors making movies about sick, twisted women behaving in self-destructive behavior!
Fortunately!!! This movie is not one!
A wonderfully acted, enjoyable LOVE STORY between a lesbian and a "convert to lesbianism". You might even say a convert to real love, after having a ho-hum relationship with a man- just because it's what's expected. Some of the story is kind of silly or quirky, but adds to the oddball character of the movie. American movies can be so tedious sometimes...foreign movies (especially Canadian ones), tend to take more chances and less car chases!
A BEAUTIFUL movie with incredible music to boot! The two sister trapeeze act during the love scene is worth the price of the movie...they are former Cirque du Soleil performers.
SOME ADVICE.........You can get this movie on DVD on some Canadian websites. The love scenes are extended and well worth buying the DVD for....Also, it is a MUCH better re-mastered copy with director's commentary.
The movie is funny in spots....very tender and passionate.....beautifully photographed....and the acting is first rate. One of my favorite lovestories...straight or lesbian.
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on February 18, 2005
From the first moment I saw previews of this movie while visiting Canada, I was enthralled by this film.

The gorgeous women, cinematography, quirky plot, and awesome love scenes swept me away and haven't seen anything that comes close to this GREAT film.

This film is about a college professor named Camille, who teaches mythology at a small religious college in Quebec. She's dating an up and coming professor who is on the fast track to become dean of the school. However, the female professor's life is forever changed when she ends up being comforted at a laundromat by a beautiful woman after her dog is killed. Very soon we see that the attraction between these two women cannot be denied and Camille has to decide whether to stay in her safe life with her boyfriend, or let passion (and repressed desire) take her wherever the tender and beautiful circus performer may lead her.

This is an absolute perfect movie.
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VINE VOICEon December 12, 2007
I am so glad that Criterion picked up this film. The DVD came out late, well after the initial release of the video had disappeared. Recent showings on the LOGO network have rekindled some well deserved interest.

Most Lesbian films are just plain bad. With the rare exception of a film like Desert Hearts, they are mindless romps by undeveloped, self-absorbed characters. They always end in the bedroom, usually to a lush musical score, because the plot literally can't go anywhere else. This film is not only a good lesbian film but a beautiful, artistically rendered chronical of a quirky relationship between two very eccentric people. The cinematography alone makes it so visually compeling that you could watch it just for that. It has a fine rhythmic pacing and a color saturation reminiscent of David Lynch. The color filled Art Circus atmosphere that surrounds one character pops as it is interspered with the staid beiges and browns that paint the academic world of the other. One scene that intercuts a car headlight dancing across a bedroom wall, a circus act that uses bouncing lights behind a screen and one of the female leads making love to her boyfriend turns editing into an artform.
Well worth the price!
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VINE VOICEon June 3, 2005
Most Lesbian films are just plain bad. With the rare exception of a film like Desert Hearts, they are mindless romps by undeveloped characters. They always end in the bedroom, usually to a lush musical score, because the plot literally can't go anywhere else. This film is not only a good lesbian film but a beautiful, artistically rendered chronical of a quirky relationship between two very eccentric people. The cinematography alone makes it so visually compelling. It has a fine rhythmic pacing and a color saturation reminiscent of David Lynch. It is so good that you could enjoy it for that alone. One scene that intercuts a car headlight dancing across a wall, a circus act that uses bouncing lights behind a screen and a man and woman making love turns editing into an artform. The really sad thing about this film is that it took so long to come out on DVD that it lost its original audience. The release went largely unnoticed and the DVD promptly dissappeared from the marketplace. How sad when so many mindless films are still readily available. Hopefully someone will revive this beauty at a gay film fest and create a market for it again. I hope so.
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on February 8, 1999
This film in my view is the best coming-out story that I've seen portrayed, since Desert Hearts. This viewer can take the role of any of the major characters and empathize. The actresses were convincing as lesbians.
The pain Martin felt personally and to his ego I felt, but all's fair in love. The issues and decisions that both Carmille and Petra had to make were realistically and tenderly portrayed. For example, Carmille's decision to follow her desire and heart or her decision to leave her okay life for a prospect shows a great deal of courage and spontaneity. Martin, I'm sure is a proponent of a bird in the hand philosophy.
And Petra's pursuit of Carmille was laudable for an individual who seemed so carefree to dare confront a woman so emerged in religion; a woman, who already has a man (What a dyke!).
The symbolism between christianity vs. circus life appeared a bit satanic for my taste; but it didn't distract from the movie. Instead it added to Carmille's journey of self-discovery from one end of the pendulum to the other. Both women were beautiful and sensual as disparate from sexy and provocative and as a woman I can appreciate that. Both women were able to make their respective characters come alive realistically.
I've watched this movie several times and there is no end in site. I'm a fan and looking for more from Patricia Rozema. Watching this moving more than once I can appreciate the time, effort, talent, detail and affection that she put into each character and each scene. She did a great job. This is a good movie.
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on November 16, 2004
I am a big movie buff. I try to expand my horizons by watching films that I wouldn't have thought to watch, one of those films is "When Night is Falling". I thought the general premise of the film where two women who were complete opposites and immediately become attracted to each other in this film was a lot more convincing than in most films that involved heterosexual couples. Pascale Bussieres plays Camille who works at a extremely conservative Christian college. She meets Petra (played by the gorgeous Rachel Crawford) in the laundrymat. Petra briefly comforts Camille because earlier that day, Camille's dog got loose and was hit by a car. Smitten, Petra switches her clothes with Camille's just so she can see Camille again. Her chance encounters with the unconventional circus performer leads Camille down a path of self-discovery and she slowly learns to really enjoy life. She quickly becomes torn between her rigid, conservative life with her fiance, a fellow theologian professor at the school she works at and a more free-spirit life that Petra leads. Eventually Camille makes her choice. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The music really captured the ambience of the film. I particularly enjoyed the scenes involving Petra and her circus troupe performing. The love scenes weren't gratuitous or weren't constructed for heterosexual male viewing like you would see in some mainstream film like "Showgirls" or even "Bound". The film was well written and the acting was excellent as well.
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on June 17, 2004
We watched this film last night, and to say we were impressed is insufficient. This is a touching lesbian love story, an evocative discovery of a woman's sexual identity, and an entertaining couple movie, all bundled in an incredibly erotic package.
Camille, played by Pascale Bussières (well-known in Quebec for her role as the title character in the wildly popular mini-series "Blanche") is a repressed, conservative teacher at a Toronto Christian college. Camille is engaged to Martin (Henry Czerny), a fellow teacher at the college. Czerny is miscast in my opinion--it is sadly difficult to separate his character from the abusive and menacing Brother Lavin of "The Boys of St. Vincent". Czerny's brooding, hooded stare distances him from the viewer and makes him far less sympathetic than his character demands in this film.
Camille's engagement seems not to touch her very deeply, despite a passionate love scene she shares with Martin, and in a moment of vulnerability she is "cruised" and captured by Petra, a circus performer wild-child played by newcomer Rachael Crawford.
Petra visibly falls head-over-heels in love with Camille and the love affair which blossoms is beautiful and exciting in its intensity. The viewer's emotions are snagged and held by the way the initial infatuation develops into profound love between the two women.
Despite the foregoing, I have a couple of reservations about the film. The musical score is excellent--dark and sinister for the circus rehearsal and audition scenes and ethereal for the dream sequences--however it would have been nice to hear more of Shirley Eikhart's voice other than in harmony. The sets are good, but the "iron" scene is just plain weird and does not fit the Cirque du Soleil-like atmosphere. Is it a prerequisite of Canadian films that they display their artsy independence with strange camera angles, sentinel-like trees and transmission towers, and nausea inducing spinning?
And one last minor whinge about the DVD: Patricia Rozema is a talented and courageous director, but her "director's commentary" is for the most part mind-numbingly boring and uninformative. We kept commenting that we wanted to learn more about the locations, the cast and the crew, only to be treated to a metaphysical soliloquoy delivered in a self-conscious monotone.
In all, 4 stars for an excellent story, well delivered, with a few relatively minor cavils.
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on October 3, 2000
When Night is Falling is easily one of the most romantic movies you are going to see about two women falling in love with each other in spite of the world around them. The lead actresses, Pascale Bussieres and Rachael Crawford give wonderful and believable performances as the main characters Camille and Petra.
The romantic soft-focus cinematography and mellowy music that seems to be an overused cliche in most lesbian orientated genres is used superbly this time by its director, Patricia Rozema,who gives us a very colorful perspective of the "Land up North".
I felt that there are many great scenes in this movie but the opening scene where we see the very straight-minded Camille having lesbian fantasties is probaly the most important scene because it establishes Camille's potential desire to be with other woman. These desires made the unlikely relationship between Camille and Petra(who is openly lesbian) much more plausible and believable.
I also liked the fact that the movie at times did not take itself too seriously and mixed in some fun and interesting moments with Camille and Petra. I loved the acrobatic lovemaking scene with the carnival music and the two trapeze artists performing overhead but the scene at the laundry where Petra pulls the old "switch-charoo" is a classic...
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on February 2, 2000
I had seen "When Night is Falling" in the video store for maybe 4 years. When I finally picked it up last week I was happy to find that $1 would buy me a weeks worth of viewing. Was that dollar worth handing over? An emphatic YES is my only response. I'd have happily paid the usual $7 had I known this movie would be so good.
Going to work the following day, I was still entranced by this beautiful love story. Instead of actually doing work, I decided to find out some more information about this movie. After going to amazon.com, I was overjoyed to find that so many others were also thrilled be this film.
The cinematography was magnificant and left me longing to visit those snow encrusted forests of Canada. I'm still dazzled by the swirling power staunchion over Petra's head. And like so many others, I too was capitivated (maybe even spellbound) by Camille beauty. My only regret in having finally seen "When Night is Falling" is that I now have the knowledge that such consuming passion can exist. Had I not seen this film, I might never have wanted to experience that passion myself.
I have the arduous task of handing back the video to the store today. Perhaps "When Night is Falling" answers the "wordless question" that so many other movies have been unable to answer. I certainly feel it has answered some questions for me.
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on February 6, 2005
I'll have to admit..I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body!

Nothing is more enjoyable than to see a successful love relatioship between two women. Unfortunately, in movies (major and independents) nothing is more rare! I am so tired of self hating lesbian directors making movies about sick, twisted women behaving in self-destructive behavior!

Fortunately!!! This movie is not one!

A wonderfully acted, enjoyable LOVE STORY between a lesbian and a "convert to lesbianism". You might even say a convert to real love, after having a ho-hum relationship with a man- just because it's what's expected. Some of the story is kind of silly or quirky, but adds to the oddball character of the movie. American movies can be so tedious sometimes...foreign movies (especially Canadian ones), tend to take more chances and less car chases!

A BEAUTIFUL movie with incredible music to boot! The two sister trapeeze act during the love scene is worth the price of the movie...they are former Cirque Du Soleil performers.

Be advised....the DVD version is MUCH better than the VHS copy...The love scenes are extended, and the print is tremendous and letterboxed to boot!.

The movie is funny in spots....very tender and passionate.....beautifully photographed....and the acting is first rate. One of my favorite lovestories...straight or lesbian.
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