Patricia Rozema, in her debut full-length film, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing(1987), presents a contemporary fable about a women searching for her self. Rozema’s 1995 work, When Night Is Falling is likewise a film that miraculously interweaves fantasy and daily life. It was shown at the Berlin Film Festival and received standing ovations from the audience.
Camille is a white mythology professor at a conservative Catholic university and Petra, a beautiful black woman working in an avant-garde circus. The film is a story about their romance – a relationship between two women who live in different worlds and come from different class and racial backgrounds. When Night Is Falling is visually captivation – casting the adventures and fantasies of love and sex in beautiful bluish brown scenes. Rozema wanders in and out of everyday life, dreams and fantasies, letting her protagonists’ different worlds collide, and shows the conflicts and concurrences of heterosexual and homosexual fantasies inherent in the outer regions of our consciousness. Elements of magical realism shown in her pervious work are made more clear in this film. The hang-gliding scenes against the early moon and various acts, by female circus performers such as the magic lantern act, make subtle transitions from daily life to fantasy, giving women viewers a strange sense of freedom. Even though it was shot in the suburbs of contemporary Toronto, the film feels delightfully surrealistic, adding to its charm.
The plainly evident lesbianism in When Night Is Falling has caused much controversy. Its homoerotic scenes caused much debate in terms in its US premiere.
Patricia ROZEMAPatricia ROZEMA
Patricia ROZEMA first distinguished herself as a writer/director with her internationally celebrated comedy feature, I've Heard the Mermaids Singing at the Director's Fortnight in Cannes, where it won the Prix de la Jeunesse. She also wrote and directed When Night Is Falling , Mansfield Park, Into the Forest and co-wrote HBO’s Grey Gardens. She was recently invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.