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City Hub
February 9, 2008


Australian director Lawrence Johnston (Eternity, Life) seems keen to push the traditional boundaries of filmmaking and his latest documentary is no exception.

Night is a kind of visual poem, consisting of a series of moving images that meditates on that wondrous and enigmatic time we all encounter every day.

Gloriously shot and with a grand orchestral score throughout, the time-lapse cityscapes, moon rising through trees and outback star trails speak for themselves. Unfortunately, they’re not allowed to.

In trying to explore ideas of what the night is, Johnston combines these images and sound with people talking about the nocturnal: that night means home, going out, drinking and dressing up, violence and crime, sex and death, fear and madness.

While these interviews serve to shift the film from the abstract to the personal, the statements we hear are not particularly interesting or thought provoking.

The anecdotes might serve to elicit viewers’ own memories of post-sunset experiences, but other observations are dull, weird and even plain pretentious.

There are many beautiful moments captured in this film, from the rumbling cloud prelude to the breathtaking fireworks finale. It’s just a shame about the droning on in between.

*This review was first published in City Hub, February 9, 2008.