Posted by: fudgie99 | June 24, 2009

When Night is Falling

WhenNightIsFalling1The director of this movie describes it as “tender, absurd, and sensual” and I agree with her on all fronts. It’s also quirky and uneven. It follows a teacher at a Christian college, Camille, as she meets and is changed by her encounter with a circus performer named Petra.

I like the opening scene- Camille, naked, underwater swimming with a beautiful woman, only to find out she is trapped under the ice, unable to get up for air. Then, we meet every day Camille, teaching mythology and walking her dog- until, that is, her dog drops dead. Hence she is off balance and vulnerable when she first meets Petra, giving Petra a chance to set up another meeting with her.

We also meet Camille’s boyfriend, a nice guy named Martin, who teaches theology and adores her. He has to go away for a few days to a conference, leaving Camille with some free time on her hands for her new friend.

Petra is anything but subtle- “Camille, I’d love to see you in the moonlight with your head thrown back and your body on fire.” Can you imagine that as your initial pickup line in a bar? Camille initially rebuffs her, then tries to be friends, because people “like us” have friends, don’t we? 

Just to be clear, Camille is no innocent virgin. The film’s first sex scene is between herself and Martin, a scene I could have done without.  She and Martin are being interviewed to become the chaplains of the college and Camille is totally screwing up the questions- even I could get these right. God hates homos and abortion, nuf said. She just starts blathering about multiplicity in God’s kingdom.

As in any lesbian movie worth its salt, the actresses end up hooking up. They have two fairly graphic sex scenes- breasts are exposed AND fondled and there’s even some snatches of, well, snatches. It is very sensual and tender and the actresses have great chemistry.

Camille’s transformation sometimes seems hard to believe. Petra is so different from her, would she really go to such lengths to see her? Or is she testing herself, and her own feelings by pursuing them, to see if it’s really possible to “love the sinner, hate the sin”. When Petra tries to dance with Camille at the circus in front of others, she gets upset, saying it’s “crass, vulgar, and tasteless”. Petra’s response- what could be vulgar about dancing with the woman I adore. She also reminded her that circus freaks were up there on the acceptance meter, and comments, “what are you going to do when the really mean f*ckers come after you?”

I enjoyed the circus ambience, too. There were some great scenes of trapeze artists, a choreographed dance involving combat boots and hot irons, and, of course, the spotlight silhoutte juggling that Petra does highlighting her sexiness even in shadow. I liked the side story of  Tori and Timothy who run the Sirkus of Sorts. Even Martin, is not painted as a villain, we’re not let off the hook in dismissing him, and neither is Camille. She has to deal with the fact that she’s hurting him by being true to herself.

I was somewhat annoyed at the “exoticism” of the lesbian- as if we all wear black leather and berets all the time and do magic or voodoo or something like that, instead of the lesbian who goes to work as a nurse,  pays her bills, and plays Kung Fu Panda on Wii for excitement. Not a great movie starter?

2.5 stars maybe call me, but I’m keeping the cats at home

Favorite lines

“These things pass.”  “What things?” “These passing things.”

“In heterospect…”

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