Sunday, May 03, 2009

Tribeca ’09: This Will All Make Perfect Sense One Day (Short)

Destiny is supposed to be there to help true love along. Sadly, it has not worked out that way for the lovelorn protagonist of Long-Cuu Phan’s short film This Will All Make Perfect Sense One Day, which screens again today as part of the “Mixed Feelings” short program at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Three times in his life, a young Asian-American man meets his “100% perfect match,” but each time fate intervenes to separate them. As Sense opens, it is 1999 and the narrator is working his final shift at a collegiate coffee house. It is just another routine day, until an attractive woman enters the café. Somehow, the tongue-tied man knows with absolute certainty she is that “perfect match,” whom he had fallen in love with years ago when they were both shy school children.

Unfortunately, just as she returns to America, he must leave for photography school in Japan. Yet, he will constantly agonize over what he should have said then, while reliving the memories of their brief childhood romance, before he finally returns to America eight years later.

Young actors Kevin Phan and Kristen Nguyen have a touching sweetness as the young perfect match that never seems precocious or affected. As for their adult counterparts, Chris Dinh’s understated performance as the narrator evokes years of yearning and regret, while Leni Ito brings genuine warmth and vulnerability to the object of his affection.

Sense has a rich visual style and some inventive editing, but its technical polish never overshadows Long-Cuu Phan’s very personal story. It is a sad but graceful film that casts a melancholy spell which proves difficult to shake. Sense is probably the best short of the festival and it is also the first film in the “Mixed Feelings” program. So, if you see only one short at Tribeca today (the last day of screenings), Sense should be it.