Pedro Marquez is a prestigious perfumer who works at home with his daughter. However, his career is under threat as his sense of smell starts to deteriorate. Things only get worse as he decides to keep it a secret...

42nd Mill Valley Film Festival

San Rafael, CA, USA 

Thu, Oct 10 - 8:45pm at Smith Rafael Film Center

5@5 Night Hunting Time

Larakspur, CA, USA 

Fri, Oct 11 - 6pm at Lark Theater

5@5 Night Hunting Time


Retirement oftentimes marks the beginning of senior life. It means suddenly becoming unproductive and can easily cause one to lose his/her purpose in life. It is only harder for a career driven man. 


I witnessed how my father’s involuntary retirement took away his confidence as well as marginalized him from the family. I wanted to make a film where the audience experiences the insecurity a man goes through as retirement becomes inevitable. The moment one surrounds himself with fear, even the least ambitious apprentice can turn into a big threat.


El Perfumista is shot in California, but the visuals are actually inspired by my childhood memories of Jaca, Spain. That's where I used to spend my summer vacations with my Tia Carmen, who had a big house in the mountains of Los Pirineos, Nothern Spain. I was lucky for being able to replicate the splendid cedar forests and the Spanish house in the film. I set out for a visually nostalgic and poetic tone and used the cello as the only instrument in the scoring to portray the gradual progression of mental state our protagonist goes through.

Perfume making is filled with textures, patterns, and colors, yet, it is mysterious for its connection to the sense of smell. It is an invisible art. What happens if one loses his sense of smell? Can he still be a perfumer if he can’t smell anymore? How hard is it to accept such a big loss? How painful, or joyful, is it for a father to see his child reaching his level of success and not being needed anymore? I want this film to answer these questions.

                          - Paloma Lingwei Chen -

Genre: Drama

Language: Spanish, English

Country: USA, China

​Shooting Location: California

Duration: 24'18''

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