Past Perfect (Canada; 82 min.)


directed by: Daniel MacIvor
starring: Daniel MacIvor; Rebecca Jenkins
Past Perfect
 
Bruce says: "PAST PERFECT could easily be a two character, two act play: Then and Now. That would not be an oddity since the writer/director is also a playwright. It is fun to think about the possibility of stories presented to audiences in different mediums. PAST PERFECT is edited to flip flop back and forth between the two time periods. Of course a play could have many scenes cutting back and forth, but I suspect that audience and actor fatigue would set in about half way through. A play wouldn’t have the same pace. What is most interesting is that MacIvor achieves an intimacy between his screen characters that is quite similar to that which is usually found on stage.

"PAST PERFECT is really a two character film with a few extra faces thrown in for some variety. The film follows two stories: one about a two people meeting for the first time on an airplane; and a second, about a marriage that is in deep trouble. In each story the couple is the same, although MacIvor slowly lets us in on that information. For a while no names are mentioned. Although the actors in both stories look somewhat the same, they also look and act a bit different, too. That makes total sense. Strangers have a different body language than a husband and wife. Also working to the film’s advantage is the element of suspense which MacIvor creates in each of the stories. He creates lots of blank spaces that we long to be filled in. That is no small feat when a film is as dialogue driven as this one.

"Charlotte (Rebecca Jenkins) and Cecil (Daniel MacIvor) meet on a plane leaving Halifax for Vancouver. Charlotte has spent four days in Halifax discovering that a man she met on-line who was supposed to be her soul mate turned out to be somebody quite different. Cecil has just broken up with Bernie, a flight attendant who doesn‘t want to settle down. Cecil is rather cranky about having someone sitting next to him. Charlotte is weepy over her failed attempt at romance. Initially the two are put off by one another. Then as things warm up, Charlotte assumes Cecil is gay, another hurdle that must be cleared. By the end of the flight, many of their strengths and weakness are revealed. Their fate is sealed.

"The second story is more abstract as it gradually unfolds. We see two people at odds with one another and uncomfortable with themselves. But we don’t know why they are behaving strangely. The time line is also not clear for some time. It sounds annoying but in fact it works to the film’s advantage. My interest was piqued as a result.

"Daniel MacIvor is a major talent as a director, writer and actor. (He also directed and wrote his own screenplay for WILBY WONDERFUL which recently debuted at the Toronto Film Festival.) MacIvor has great insight into human frailties. He tells stories that are generous of spirit without being maudlin. Let’s hope North American audiences south of the 49th parallel will finally get to see his films.

"Rebecca Jenkins enhances every film she is in with consistently fine performances. She has had an interesting career. Jenkins was a back-up singer for Jane Siberry which I did not know until recently. I suspect I’ve seen her on stage several times. More surprising for me is that she was the star of BYE BYE BLUES, one of my top ten films of 1990. She is in Daniel MacIvor’s new film WILBY WONDERFUL, was in last year’s MARION BRIDGE and was also in Tim Robbin’s BOB ROBERTS.

"Never released in the US, PAST PERFECT is now available on DVD. 4 cats"

 

Michael says: "Two people, both struggling with broken relationships, meet on an overnight flight from Halifax to Vancouver. After sitting through an uncomfortably awkward start, fate intervenes and they fall in love. Two years later, they are married, but their relationship has hit a seemingly insurmmountable roadblock. MacIvor writes, directs and stars in this moving and funny tale of two souls and their desires. Lovely cinematography, a pair of strong performances and an accomplished script all combine in an elegant character piece that rises above the usual cliches. 4 1/2 cats"