In her book, Cinephilia & History, Christian Keathley, discusses the “cinephiliac moment”. It is a moment in a film where “what is seen is in excess of what is being shown”. These are moments when a simple turn of the head, or a movement of a hand can ache with meaning. Myles Milne’s Perdita features an unnamed young woman (Madie Dean) who has created a life for herself based on these sorts of fetisistic moments. Her fascination with images irrevocably blurs the line between pictures, and reality.
The young woman’s camera is both her eye, and her friend. She papers her apartment with her photographs: a whole life in pictures. Except she’s not in it. She is alone. She rarely speaks with anyone except to say “let’s see your lovely smile!” when capturing their image.
Mute colours and gentle focus render Toronto soft and ethereal. Recognizable locations express the aura of ‘another place’. The young woman is a focal point of most shots, but she is usually blended into the background, or placed within a frame or near a window. Always separate, or looking in.
It’s not an accident that the young woman has no name, or that the only person named in the film is nearly absent. The young woman values representation over experience: a world made of images. No one has a name because no words are spoken in the realm of pictures.
Perdita damns the image while taking it to bed. But it also denies participation in the degradation of images. They just are – it is the young woman who unwittingly turns them into poison objects that keep her separate.
As the film draws to its conclusions the camera, her camera, is turned against her like a weapon. Every image she has captured, every liberty she has ever taken with her camera eye is thrown back at her.
Suddenly it is clear: she is not a photographer, she is a poacher.
Myles Milne’s has been an avid film watcher from an early age and studied Film Production at Humber College. He resides in Newmarket, Ontario
Myles’ other work includes:
– Dyspare (Currently in festival circuit)
-Our Missing Pieces (Tsurukawa Film Festival)
– Parked (Montreal World Film Festival, Toronto Youth Shorts)