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There’s much to stimulate the eyes and the mind in “Night,” an illuminating Aussie docu about how people perceive and experience the time between dusk and dawn. Helmer Lawrence Johnston’s first feature since “Life” (1996) is consistently absorbing, though marred slightly by the awkward placement of unidentified interviewees. Geared for upscale auds prepared to go with its stream-of-consciousness flow, the pic looks set for a lengthy fest run and should perform solidly in local arthouses on late 2007 release.

Composed of beautiful images of busy cityscapes and peaceful rural scenes, pic is guided by the voices of ordinary people who work at night and more highbrow ruminations on how the human condition responds to and is shaped by darkness. The effect is a magical mystery tour into the nocturnal, only compromised by infrequent cutting to never-named talking heads; inserts feel superfluous and make the film play more like a traditional TV docu. Tech package is outstanding. Set to a lovely symphonic score by Cezary Skubiszewski, “Night” is superbly shot with available light and no post-production effects by lenser Laurie McInness.

Night

Australia

  • Production: A Dendy Films release of a Film Finance Corp. Australia presentation of a Circe Films production, in association with Film Victoria, SBSI and Rough Trade Pictures. (International sales: Becker Intl., Sydney.) Produced by Lizette Atkins, Lawrence Johnston. Directed, written by Lawrence Johnston.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Laurie McInness; editor, Bill Murphy; music, Cezary Skubiszewski. Reviewed at Brisbane Film Festival (Australian Cinema), Aug. 11, 2007. (Also in Toronto Film Festival -- Visions.) Running time: 81 MIN.
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