There’s often an honesty when two strangers have the time for a heart-to-heart conversation. How did the conversation between the two actors in Perfectly Flawed come about – was it ad lib or scripted?
I agree, that is something that’s always intrigued me. A stranger will tell you their life story unfiltered, but would find it much harder with a friend. I suppose that was the first building block to Perfectly Flawed. I didn’t use a script or any pre-determined lines. I suppose I was experimenting with characters rather than a set narrative. I knew I wanted to reflect the confusion of love and life set against the stillness of the pandemic. I couldn’t stop thinking, everyone’s complaining but what about the generation just starting out. I’m worried we are creating a lost generation.
There’s a naturalness in the conversation – how did you go about finding your cast?
I met both Yassine and Mimi individually and spoke about our lives, as expected they found comfort in telling me, a stranger, everything. I then brought the two of them together, which is what you now see on screen. Yassine is a trained actor and for Mimi this was her first time making a film. I had a lot of self-doubt at times with Perfectly Flawed, I was not sure everyone involved fully understood my vision. Yassine asked me on set, “am I acting or being myself” and then it clicked, we all do both in real life. I was treading a thin line between the film being self-indulgent art or something real and refreshing. I hope it worked.
It was such a relief to view a film that breathes with a soft rather than violent tone. Was this always your intention?
Thank you. Yes it was, love is such an intangible emotion. The film needed to represent that airy feeling. I think beauty often lies in the flaws, we all hide so well. No one on earth can define or describe love so how do you make a film about it. I wanted the audience to relate to the sentiment and feeling rather than the actuality of love.
What was behind your decision to focus the camera on the male?
Originally I was going to use two actors for the film, it was going to be more of a coming of age film. I realised it wouldn’t feel right and inadvertently become forced. So I met with Mimi, who is such a true spirit and well rounded person. I knew she was right for the film and Yassine’s character after just 15 mins of talking. Yassine was always going to be the lead, the project started with me meeting him. I wanted the audience to feel the subtext most young men have of never saying they are lonely, sad or unhappy. Men internalise a lot of emotion, me included, and I wanted that to seep through the edges of Perfectly Flawed.
To what extent did the film evolve in the edit?
In my head the edit is what you see, but this is probably not entirely true. Working with long-time collaborator Dave Silver made this so much easier. It has been a working relationship of over six years. I cut a rough dialogue as a base plate before Dave took over the edit. Whilst in the edit on commercial work you often spend hours talking about the wonders of the world. Well I do, so we have got to know each other pretty well over the years.
What was your motivation to leave London and move to Amsterdam?
I love Europe and spent a lot of time as a child in France. Then as a working director I was often in Berlin and Paris shooting. Brexit was looming and it was my moment to try something new, I’ve lived in South London my whole life. I’m glad to be in Europe, but now I understand ’London is ever calling’ if it’s your home.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I made this film for the people, with no money and a brilliant team. So I would like to thank Jasper De Kloet, Dave Silver, Jason Wallis, Ikki Dhesi, Steph Grace-Summers and Benjamin Braasem. The most gratifying moments from the experience have been the creation, the people and process. I received a call from an old friend thanking me for making the film, it resonated with him at the right time in his life. That meant a lot to me.
Jak O’Hare is repped by VIGICS in Amsterdam
Director: Jak O’Hare
DOP: Jasper De Kloet
Editor: Dave Silver
Colourist: Jason Wallis
Graphics: Ikki Dhesi
Sound Design: Dave Silver & Benjamin Braasem
Yassine El Ouardi
Music by Dream Death
Music Supervision: Steph Grace-Summers