Tribeca Film Festival Short: This Perfect Day
Chinese-Australian Director Lydia Rui’s This Perfect Day was created by a predominately female crew and stars Lee Mason (Underbelly, Crime and Punishment) and introduces non-binary lead Michelle Keating. In writing this topical film Rui drew inspiration from her own life. This Perfect Day screened at Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) as one of only 63 shorts, selected from a record number of 5131 submissions!
Julia (Michelle Keating), a wayward youth, walks into a music store. This could be a day that changes their life.
Runtime: 7 minutes.
This Perfect Day marks Rui’s second narrative short — which she wrote, directed, produced, and edited — and her transnational background allows her to bring a nuanced, empathic eye to every subject. The film is a brisk 7 minutes, and it seeks to capture an integral moment in the life of its protagonist, Julia (played by Michelle Keating). In a sense, it feels like a small piece of something much larger, but as a standalone short, it offers the right sense of finality.
Bookended by shots of Julia in a car, the film subtly suggests that each arrival is a means to another journey — one that is unknown both to the character and the audience. It has an effective sense of ambiguity to it. Instead of offering a finite conclusion, Rui cuts the story off open-ended, which gives the viewer a bit more to chew over.
The cinematography by Alice Stephens fills the frame with a lot of really nice deep focus. Rui’s direction is mostly effective and consists of a lot of tight shots, which help to lock the viewer into a character’s point of view or a situation. Composer Tommy Spender gives the short some nice backing tracks that marry very well with Rui and Stephens’ images.
The film’s LGBTQI elements are handled nicely and add a nice sense of realism to Julia’s character, but they aren’t pivotal to the plot. While they don’t play a huge involvement in the short, Rui gives the viewer the sense that they will play a role in the character’s life down the line, off-screen when the credits roll. I really liked that it left me wondering what the character would do next. It’s always a rare treat when the film extends itself past the credits, and This Perfect Day has a lot to offer in that regard.
Held up by two good performances from Lee Mason and Michelle Keating, and tight cinematography and direction, This Perfect Day allows the viewer a glimpse into an intimate moment in the characters’ lives, giving you a lot to chew on as the credits roll.
Rating: 3.5 acoustic guitars outta 5.
About The Filmmaker: Lydia Rui graduated with a BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She traveled through North America and Europe as a videographer for Beyoncé Knowles’ Mrs. Carter World Tour ’13-‘14. Upon returning to Melbourne, she was a full-time Director's Assistant for award-winning production company Exit Films from ’14-‘16. Her short documentary, ‘This is Yarra’ (2018), World Premiered at DOC NYC 2018 — America’s largest Academy® qualifying documentary festival. It had its National Premiere at the Academy® & BAFTA qualifying 28th Flickerfest International Short Film Festival in the ‘Best Documentaries — International and Australian’ competition. Rui seeks to empower, enrich, and enliven through cinematic storytelling. She is particularly interested in stories that center marginalized experiences, believing that moving image is the most powerful conduit for expanding empathy.
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