Charming, fast-talking waitress falls for handsome ethnic man. Obstacle 1: a language barrier. Obstacle 2: the police surrounding the house.
That is the setup for ¡Perfecto!, a cute and quirky micro-budget film, submitted to YouTube and Sundance’s recently concluded Project:Direct competition—a viewer-submitted online comp that actually has some pedigree as far as its sponsors go, and a pretty neat prize for a payout, (VIP treatment at Sundance!), ensuring a strong field for once.
The film opens with the female lead, Vaden, primping herself in a wedding gown. Her Mom teases her by saying “Nice dress for a part-time waitress”, a throw away line that takes on new meaning later in the film. Hernan, the groom, addresses his soon to be in-laws in the living room, drawing nothing but blank stares from these country folk, for he is adressing them entirely in Spanish. An eldery man remarks in a straight deadpan that the police are outside the house.
So they are an odd couple. But how did this union come to be?
The film goes through a flashback to their meeting and romance, and this is the film’s strongest part. Vaden’s cheerful stream-of-conscious babbling is a perfect complement to the film itself which keeps humming along in a state of wonderful bemusement, propelled by brisk editing and a cheerful sountrack.
It is this sequence as well that we see the strongest technical components of the film. The scene in the restaurant is simply executed well. The set is well lit and interesting looking. The use of a lens adpater is present throughout the film, but has its most striking effect in this scene, and the editing during the shot reverse shot is spot on. During the courtship, the fact that the camera is handheld is noticeable, but mitigated by the brevity of the clips and the camera movement. Plus the use of foreground objects as wipes is a neat trick that fit the mood and brisk nature of scene to perfection.
A quick congratulations needs to given to Erin Fede as well, who wrote the screenplay and starred as Vaden. Her performance is immensely likable, and in short films, where there is little character development, the importance of instant likability cannot be overstated. The buoyent optimism of the character both in the script and on screen really allowed for the mood of the film to be achieved.
The film concludes with a twist of course, why else were the cops there? But by that time I was already sold on ¡Perfecto! Good mood, good acting, good execution leads to a good film. Congratulations on winning Project:Direct! Congratulations to Youtube for this, the second Project:Direct competition also. ¡Perfecto! at this point has received over 130,000 views, more than a film can hope to get at any festival except for maybe Tropfest. Still, this number fails to prove that narrative productions can as of yet compete for eyeballs on the level of popular viral vids which are YouTube’s bread and butter, but YouTube definitely sees the value in promoting this, so hopefully we can get there. If you have a fast connection I definitely encourage you to check the film out in YouTube’s new HD, by clicking the link right below the picture.