Perfect Moment

One-of-a-kind docu follows artist and filmmaker Nicholas Hondrogen seeking the answer to a question never fully articulated in the film itself: If you were to die tomorrow, what one "perfect moment" would you recall from your life? Answers from various subjects, ranging from the homeless to such celebrities as Larry King, Edward Albee and Norman Lear, could attract some notice for the film. Pic will need special handling and good word of mouth to succeed in the specialty market. After a meandering start, film loosely organizes itself around groups of answers. Several people, including composer Philip Glass and producer Irwin Winkler, talk about the birth of their children. Others, including Lear and Indian activist Russell Means, discuss religion and spirituality. For still others, their "special moment" is a turning point, even a terrible event. Artist Janice Blake's account of her brutal rape is devastating, while pastor Jess Moody talks about how seeing all his friends die in World War II led him into the ministry. The accounts range from the trivial to the profound.

As the stories are told, Hondrogen supplements them with visuals, music and sound effects; these additions avoid being intrusive and take the film beyond a mere series of talking heads. Hondrogen was something of a one-man band on the project, and his narration often crosses into self-indulgence. He tells viewers he didn’t want to hide behind the camera, and unnecessarily shows himself showering, sitting on the toilet, jogging in the nude and even making love. On the plus side, tech credits are solid and appealing.

Profits, if any, from film are earmarked for AIDS-related charities.

Perfect Moment

Production: A Perfect Moment Foundation presentation in association with About Face Prods. Produced, directed, written, edited by Nicholas Hondrogen.

Crew: Camera (color), Hondrogen; additional camera, Eric Zimmerman, Kevin Ward; music, Michael Whalen; sound (Dolby), Hondrogen; associate producers, Jill Bushinsky, Zimmerman, Ward, Whalen, Rick Freeman. Reviewed at the Sony Copley Place Theatres, Boston, Sept. 9, 1997. (In Boston, AFI/L.A. film festivals.) Running time: 92 MIN.

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