February 24, 2016
PERFECT DAY (Fernando León de Aranoa ). 106 minutes. Opens Friday (February 26). See listing. Rating: NNNN
This shaggy, likeable film from director Fernando León de Aranoa
chronicles 24 obstacle-ridden hours in the life of some international
Set “somewhere in the Balkans” in 1995, it could be described as a
Sisyphean comedy. The opening image of a bloated cadaver being hoisted
out of a well, until the rope break, encapsulates what follows. Between
inscrutable regional politics, ongoing turf issues with the UN and land
mines preventing safe passage, it’s a wonder these working-class
altruists get anything done.
Our motley crew consists of Mambrú (Benicio Del Toro), the weary
veteran; B (Tim Robbins), the manic hot-dogger; Sophie (Mélanie
Thierry), the newcomer condescended to by the higher-ups; Damir (Fedja
Stukan), the stoic local; and Katya (Olga Kurylenko), Mambrú’s former
mistress, who turns up to evaluate their mission’s sustainability. Much
of the action concerns coping with absurdity, trying to get from A to B
in one piece, dodging checkpoints, maybe helping a kid retrieve his
The film is based on the book by aid worker Paula Farias, but the
overriding theme feels kindred to León de Aranoa’s Mondays In The Sun,
his 2002 film about unemployed shipyard workers, starring Javier Bardem.
This is at bottom about how work – or the lack thereof – shapes our
Read the NOW Magazine review here.