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Short Film: Person to Person, Directed by Dustin Guy Defa

The New Yorker streams short films — who knew? This discovery is particularly welcome because just posted on the magazine’s YouTube channel — and embedded above — is Dustin Guy Defa’s terrific Person to Person, one of the works that landed the filmmaker on our 25 New Faces list this year.

Here’s Brandon Harris on the film here at Filmmaker:

Speaking of throwback cinema that doesn’t simply appropriate but forges its own thing out of the familiar, Dustin Guy Defa’s Person to Person is a film one could watch a dozen times. Assuming he doesn’t change the Vimeo password and refuse to tell me what the new one is (he might), I may be up for a baker’s dozen. Are there still, in the New York conquered by wealth, record store owners named Bene, guys who are somehow the best character from a Vincent Gallo film that Vincent Gallo didn’t make, who throw parties where they play soul records on vinyl and have Asian customers with Charles Bronson mustaches and black ones who look like extras from The King of New York? I know not, but I do know that I was hooked on Defa’s short from start to finish, even if I fell asleep watching it the first time (cut me some slack, it was 2:00 AM).

Adam Ginsberg’s luscious 4:3 16mm framing goes well with Person to Person‘s choppy editing and “Desplechin goes to old Noo Yawk” cadences. And star Bene Coopersmith is someone you can’t take your eyes off of; he looks and sounds like whatever real-life guy inspired Christian Bale’s character in American Hustle. Maybe Jeff Zucker ought to try to watch this one instead. In this tale of a guy who has a simple problem — that being a woman who passed out on his floor at last night’s party and the next day refuses to leave because she claims they’re made for each other — the effortless evocation of something bygone (soul music, vinyl record stores, 16mm film) doesn’t feel like a cheap facade the filmmaker is temporarily wearing to seem, to use a word from the past, “happening” (although that “New York, 1983″ poster on the wall at Bene’s apartment might be pushing it a bit). The movie has the best score of any film in the festival; Little Ann, The Georgettes, The Supreme Jubilees, Jus Us, Darando, Mattison, Helene Smith. One for the ages, this one. Seek it.

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