When Night Is Falling
Excruciatingly conservative, Camille is a professor at a small Christian university, dutifully engaged to equally conservative college colleague Martin. Wildly bohemian, Petra is a performance magician for the Sirkus of Sorts, a poor man’s Cirque du Soleil. After the two women meet at a Laundromat, it becomes apparent to Camille that—duty be damned—her engagement must be broken.
Such is the basic plot to When Night Is Falling.
Beautifully photographed in snowy Quebec, Patricia Rozema’s motion picture was originally released in 1995. At that time, U.S. censors railed against a love scene between the two women, yet turned a blind eye to the opposite-sex love scene that, by most standards, was far, far more explicit in nature.
This unrated, “collector’s edition” version restores 10 seconds of that notorious love scene previously edited in 2002 for its first DVD release, an edit required by censors to achieve an R rating. But Rozema’s exquisite juxtaposition of a trapeze scene against that edited love scene is as visually poetic now as it was in 1995. And all these years later, the movie’s ending is still one of the happiest in this writer’s viewing experience.
Rozema, who was also responsible for the lesbicentric I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987), is currently in post-production with Kit Kittredge: An American Girl , a comedy drama starring Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) tentatively set for release this summer. But don’t expect a trapeze scene in this one.
Available February 5 from Wolfe Video (www.wolfevideo.com). — Review: Nancy Ford
Bob and Jack’s 52-Year Adventure
Fifty-two years is an unimaginably long time. In 52 years you will have dreaded the onslaught of 52 Houston summers, seen over 600 full moons (if it wasn’t raining), eagerly awaited 2,600 weekends, and, if you are as fortunate as Jack and Bob, said good morning to your partner nearly 20,000 times, kissed a 100,000 times and made love…well, who’s counting?
Certainly not Jack Reavley, the slightly senior half of the Jack and Bob duo. It was Bob Claunch who saved everything from their 52 years together, including the menu from their first sea cruise. A wealth of old photos punctuates the story that unfolds before filmmaker Stu Maddox’s camera in Bob and Jack’s 52-Year Adventure.
Private Bob Claunch and First Luietenant Jack Reavley met on an Army base in Germany in 1952. Attracted at first sight, the straight-laced U.S. Army of post-World War II Europe would prove no obstacle to their love. Not that there weren’t bumps in the road, some of them huge, but what comes across in this disarmingly honest look into the lives of these two men is the power of the love they share. Jack and Bob take us from Germany to a very small town in Washington state and finally Los Angeles, where they make their home.
The recently released DVD also includes two question-and-answer sessions and a horrifying little vignette produced by the Inglewood, California Police Department in 1961 titled, Boys Beware. Lest we forget, in 1961, being gay was considered a mental disorder akin to psychopathic murderer. That these two lovely gentlemen survived the Army in the ’50s, small-town Washington life, and the mentality that produced Boys Beware is a ringing testimony to the power of love. Details: www.bobandjack.org.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
— Review: John Stiles
The Man of My Life
Gorgeous visuals pervade this beautifully told romantic tragedy. Frédéric and his wife Frédérique join their extended family for a summer along the Provençale countryside. Frédéric notices a new neighbor, a handsome, solitary gay man named Hugo, has moved in next door and invites him over for dinner. Soon thereafter, Frédérique notices the growing distance between her husband and herself, and the growing closeness between Frédéric and Hugo. • 2006. Co-written and directed by Zabou Breitman. French with English subtitles. • From Strand Releasing (www.strandreleasing.com). — Review: Eric A.T. Dieckman
She Likes Girls 2
(She likes girls to what?) This sophomore volume of eight lesbian short films is a pleasing tribute to lesbian diversity in all its forms. Nearly all are award winners or honored selections from various queer film fests, but Michelle Esposito’s Such Great Joy and Jenifer Malmqvist’s Peace Talk are edgy standouts. Wolfe Video (www.wolfevideo.com). — Review: Nancy Ford
The adaptation of playwright Terrance McNally’s raucous comic romp made for a daring gay movie in the mid-’70s. Full of slapstick, clever wordplay, and suggestive adult situations, the laughs in this film are not at the expense of gays, like so many films of the era. Rather, this comical misadventure set in a bathhouse practically takes a stab at the straights from a gay point of view. Plus, the cast, including Rita Moreno and Jerry Stiller, has excellent comic timing. • 1976. Directed by Richard Lester. • From Warner Home Video (www.warnerbros.com). — Review: Eric A.T. Dieckman
Personal fair, at best. When Personal Best was released in 1982, many lesbian viewers thought it was the greatest thing to come to the cineplex since buttered popcorn. Then we saw Desert Hearts and the aforementioned I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing and other queer-themed movies with higher production value, and realized this film starring a young, butchy Mariel Hemingway would likely be remembered as a campy cult classic. Warner Home Video (www.warnerbros.com). — Preview: Nancy Ford
Like a gay Napoleon Dynamite, Rodney doesn’t quite fit in. A budding high-school homosexual, he nurtures his inner “fat girl” with the help of his friend, hag, and real-life fat girl, Sabrina. The two navigate their way through love and lust as she falls for Rudy, a Cuban refugee student, and he falls for Joey, a sexy English bad-boy. • 2006. Written and directed by Ash Christian. FYI: Ash Christian also plays the starring role. • From Genius Products, Inc. (www.geniusproducts.com). — Review: Eric A.T. Dieckman
Life is in flux for Jorge, whose father just had a stroke. Putting his career on hold, he takes on his father’s janitorial job, cares for his father, and studies in the evening. Exacerbating things, his best friend, Israel, discovers his father frequents a male masseur. Confused, Israel questions his own sexuality. How can Jorge manage his father’s life, his friend’s worries, and still have time for Jorge? • 2006. Written and directed by Daniel Sanchez Arévalo. Spanish with English subtitles. • From Strand Releasing (www.strandreleasing.com). — Review: Eric A.T. Dieckman
A New Day
This DVD is a feast for your ears and eyes. Dion, one of the most popular and biggest-selling female artists, performs her most popular songs with a special-effects and lights show and the Cirque Du Soleil dancers. The show is bigger than life and captures her passion and talent. The two-disc set, which contains Celine’s unforgettable Live in Las Vegas concert, includes a behind-the-scenes look at the show. Columbia Records (www.columbiarecords.com). More: www.celinedion.com. — Preview: Andrea Rodricks