Loosely based on Arthur Schnitzler’s _La ronde) – and stylistically and structurally indebted to the work of Atom Egoyan – Jeremy Podeswa’s feature debut follows a diverse group of Toronto residents during the desire-fuelled days leading up to a solar eclipse. Down in the industrial part of town, solidly middle-class Brian (John Gilbert) has furtive sex with Henry (Von Flores), a young hustler. Back at home, Brian falls into his Wednesday afternoon quickie with Sylvie (Pascale Montpetit), the nanny, who in turn lusts after a near stranger in her ESL class.
Mingling lust and regret with adult sophistication, Podeswa jumbles sexualities against a backdrop of increasing public delirium and introduces one of his main thematic concerns: that invisible links exist among people, between strangers. The characters discover not only how much they rely on each other but also how to reassess their value as individuals. Depicting the multiple cultures and social classes of Canadian life in an allegory of sexual promiscuity and the dangers of AIDS, Podeswa contrasts the black-and-white scenes of seduction with colour video footage of eclipse revellers, lending the film a rich mixture of textures and tones that matches the steamy events on screen.
Eclipse gained international distribution after garnering great acclaim upon its world debut at the 1994 Toronto International Film Festival®. It earned Genie Award nominations for Pascale Montpetit’s and Matthew Ferguson’s supporting performances, established Podeswa as a burgeoning auteur and was well-received by critics: B. Ruby Rich called it “seductive,” while Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times found it “beautifully crafted… sleek, stylized, sensual.” –TIFF