News from the Locarno Festival

Person to Person

Concorso Cineasti del presente

Person to Person



A single day in New York harbors a million stories. Dustin Guy Defa, for his second feature as a director (he is also a skilled actor), chose to tell several of them through an ensemble of characters. He does so, thankfully, without a plan to artificially join all the threads in some sort of mystical denouement. Chance has New Yorkers cross paths in sometimes the most improbable ways but, most of the time, they evolve on parallel itineraries that brush but never collide. If the characters of Person to Person have something in common, it would be, as the film’s title hints, a certain desire to connect. In a considerate way, no less.

A collector (Bene Coopersmith) who is conned into buying an alleged rare record, and later on a remorseful boyfriend (George Sample III), spontaneously voice a founding principle of the film: “Trust is sacred.” While the story, which mixes crime reporting, humorous fugues and a variety of romantic endeavors, does not make overt political claims, Defa’s inclination for kind, polite interactions is pleasantly soothing in the context of our own divided societies.

One of the female figures (Tavi Gevinson) is 'pure honesty', to a point one would consider dangerous for the preservation of friendships. A rookie reporter (Abbi Jacobson) realizes that her natural unwillingness to lie puts her career choice into question. Even those caught lying don’t hold on to their postures for long. When they realize that the object of their affection may be escaping them, two of the characters break down in tears. Spoiler alert: only boys cry in Person to Person. And it’s ok to cry.

Aurélie Godet

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