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Film / When Night is Falling

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When Night Is Falling is a 1995 Canadian drama film directed by Patricia Rozema and stars Pascale Bussières as Camille Baker, a university literature professor at a religious college struggling with both her tenure-track career and her troubled relationship with fellow professor Martin (Henry Czerny). When a carnival subsequently comes to town, Camille is confused by her unexpected attraction to Petra Soft (Rachael Crawford), a sexy, free-spirited circus performer.


This film provides examples of:

  • And Starring: Special appearance by Clare Coulter as Tillie.
  • Animal Metaphor: After being thought to be dead for the majority of the film, Camille's beloved dog Bob miraculously awakens and digs himself free from under the snow where his owner buried him, which alludes to Camille finally accepting her sexuality and beginning a new life with Petra.
  • Buffy Speak:
    Martin: And these things pass.
    Camille: What things?
    Martin: These... passing things.
  • Bury Your Gays: Averted, if only barely when Camille gets drunk and passes out after burying her dog in the snow, almost dying of hypothermia as a result.
  • Chewing the Scenery: After discovering Camille's affair with Petra, Martin confronts Petra alone and proceeds to punching and kicking her trailer.
  • Closet Key: Uptight conservative teacher Camille Baker (who has a boyfriend) meets free-spirited circus performer Petra Soft, with whom she eventually falls in love.
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  • Divine Intervention: After rushing to Camille's side when she is found passed out and suffering from hypothermia in the woods, Petra begs for this from whatever deity that may be listening to save her and promises to cherish every moment with Camille from then on. It may have worked, as Camille recovers.
  • Gayngst: Loads from Camille as she begins falling in love with Petra.
  • Gilligan Cut: Petra tries to convince Camille to join her on a hang glider, which the latter steadfastly refuses. Cut to the next scene where a terrified Camille is strapped in and clinging to a smirking Petra as they begin their ascent.
  • Ironic Echo: During her conversation with the head of the religious university where she works, Camille's remark to Petra about 'People like you' is unknowingly thrown back in her face by the reverend.
  • Laundromat Liaisons: Where Camille and Petra first meet.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Both Camille and Petra qualify given their feminine looks, though the former appears to be bisexual.
  • Love at First Sight: Petra more or less declares it to Camille during their second meeting.
  • Opposites Attract: An ultra conservative Christian professor falls in love with a carefree travelling circus performer.
  • Pair the Spares: Hinted at near the end of the film with Martin and Tory, both of whom are newly single.
  • Precision F-Strike: Petra's response to Camille's gayngst after members of the circus group make catcalls to the couple dancing.
    "Oh, really? Well, aren't you cute? Hey, good luck sweetheart, because here are some of the kindest people in the world, Camille. If you can't handle a little fun here, what are you going to do when the real mean fuckers of the world start laughing at you? 'Cause they will, you know. They'll be using it against you and they'll be laughing up a storm, Camille."
  • Queer Romance: The story is about Camille, who's in a long-term relationship with a man, falling for a woman.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Petra is black and a lesbian.


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