Past Perfect Daniel MacIvor
Published Jan 01, 2006The feature film debut of Canadian theatre genius Daniel MacIvor utilises some of the structural innovations that are so characteristic of his stage work to explore cinematically the inner workings of a relationship. The story of Charlotte (Rebecca Jenkins) and Cecil (MacIvor) is examined by focusing exclusively on two very different days in their life together. The film jumps back and forth between their initial meeting on an overnight flight between Halifax and Vancouver, and a Saturday two years later when a recent loss has begun to unravel their domestic life. These simultaneously unfolding narratives are related piece by piece, in the form of small, titled vignettes, each containing a brief glimpse at what brought these two together and what may well tear them apart. The script is great, with dialogue filled with humour and pathos giving way occasionally to haunting moments of silent reflection. Jenkins and MacIvor turn in rich performances, conveying both the exciting flush of new love's possibilities and the crushing defeat of feeling trapped in a life not living up to its initial promise. The most remarkable thing about Past Perfect, however, is its structural brilliance, not just for how it skilfully inter-cuts the parallel stories, but more importantly for the masterful way that the seemingly random tales and images presented throughout the film magically culminate in the breathtakingly beautiful final scenes.