The romantic drama “Quando la Notte” [Eng. Title: When the Night] is yet another woman’s film by Cristina Comencini (La Bestia nel Cuore).
Set in a ski resort among the Italian Alps, the main focus of the film seems to be about lonely well-off housewives coping with childrearing challenges. Marina arrives with her toddler at picturesque Macugnaga on a holiday – her husband had to stay behind, she rents a portion of ski-instructor Manfred’s chalet. Manfred, separated from his wife and children, will suspect Marina of physically abusing her child on one occasion when he had to drive them to the hospital for emergency treatment. While hurt by his accusations, Marina also finds herself drawn towards him. An accident brings Manfred and his estranged wife back together, and Marina too. But since neither Marina nor Manfred want to rock the boat, they go their separate ways, until fifteen years later when Marina comes looking for him. Their latent passion for one another culminates in a one-night stand, before they go their separate ways again, like two passing cable cars.
While both the actors playing the lead characters give fine performances, and the story holds the promise of a good drama, I find some events needlessly drawn out, time that could have been dedicated instead on the characterisation. We don’t empathise with the main characters as we don’t get to understand them well enough. The cinematography is pleasing to the eye – it would’ve been unforgivable if otherwise, but the direction shines through only in patches. It’s not a bad film at all, but I think it could have been better.