Person to PersonLocarno Film Festival 2017
Person to Person chronicles a day in the life of a collection of New Yorkers. This is a film both about the desire to make meaningful connections and to make meaning of the day-to-day.
We are introduced to a group of characters in a series of vignettes, and collide with them at various landmarks along their voyage through 24 hours. As each navigates the traffic of the city they find collusion, communion and chaos. Love triumphs in this picture as the core moral value, but this is no love letter to New York or the characters it houses. It is a love that is tacit – mundane, even – and though sentimental, never saccharine.
Every member of the ensemble cast delivers a pitch-perfect performance. The quirky relationship between Phil and Claire – a journalist and his apprentice, played by Michael Cera and Abbi Jacobson – has an ecstatic and infectious chemistry.
The moral arbiter of the film is Bene played by (and based upon) Bene Coopersmith, director Dustin Guy Defa’s best friend. Bene is a hepcat, spending his day in pursuit of a vinyl copy of Charlie Parker’s Bird Blows the Blues. Music to this man is love, and when he is hustled by a record dealer a semi-farcical chase sequence ensues as he seeks revenge. Bene’s ardent devotion to music and the promise it holds for him is transferred to the viewer in the form of a sumptuous soundtrack. An agile script dances over well-chosen soul tunes with its own staccato rhythm.
Shot on 16mm film Person to Person radiates warmth. Each shot has an iridescent glow. This doesn’t amount to a sense of nostalgia – all that the characters yearn for lies definitely in the future, not in the past, and as such the movie propels forwards – but there is a romance in the analogue. Although an iPhone has an important role in one storyline, these artefacts otherwise remain unseen.
Person to Person is a thoughtful film. It artfully conceives idiosyncrasies and leaves the viewer to grapple with their relevance, replicating the discerning doubt in the minds of the protagonists. This feature requires pensive attention but it gives generously in return.
Person to Person does not have a UK release date yet.
Watch the trailer for Person to Person here: