Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s we’re taking a weekly look at some of some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Dustin Guy Defa’s acerbic parody Dramatic Relationships.
The Plot: A male director works through scenes with his female cast members.
If 2017 taught us anything, it’s that the relationship between a director and his actress can get complicated; sometimes even toxic. As the Hollywood community desperately attempts to correct decades of mistreatment of its lady leads, Dustin Guy Defa is one of the few filmmakers unafraid to tackle that complicated issue head on. And his latest short film, Dramatic Relationships, pulls no punches in its skewering of the male gaze and the directors who inflict it on their female performers.
Though it’s sort of a cheat to call Dramatic Relationships a film in the traditional sense. Defa’s short doesn’t really have a beginning, a middle, or an ending. Nor does it have a legit protagonist or anything resembling a dramatic arc. Rather, Defa eschews the confines of a straightforward narrative with Dramatic Relationships, presenting the film’s complicated material in the form of independent but thematically similar vignettes.
Each of those vignettes is designed with the not so simple task of exposing the misogynistic manipulation, caustic condescension, and otherwise suspect behavior that women are too often subjected to on a film set. And each of those vignettes accomplishes its task with an agonizing prescience and sly sense of humor. Quite cleverly, they also do it without ever seeing the man directing each scene. Rather, Defa and cinematographer Zach Levy keep their camera focused on the actress trapped within the frame. In doing so, Dramatic Relationships also serves as a showcase of sorts for its talented female stars Elisa Lasowski, Lindsay Burdge, Jennifer Kim, Hannah Gross and Agostina Gálvez; and that oh-so clever trick should earn a high-five from viewers of all sexes.
Meet The Crew:
Written, Directed and Edited by: Dustin Guy Defa Starring: Elisa Lasowski, Bingham Bryant, Lindsay Burdge, Stephen Gurewitz, Jennifer Kim, Hannah Gross, Keith Paulson, Agostina Gálvez, Jay Giampietro Cinematography by: Zach Levy
We hope you enjoy Dramatic Relationships! If you weren’t already aware of Dustin Guy Defa, we really hope you’ll take some time to check out the director’s work, particularly his 2017 feature Person to Person. That film remains one of last year’s overlooked gems, and stands as proof that Defa’s comically abrasive stylings are more than fit for the big screen. Of course, you can also check out some of Defa’s work right now by checking in over at his Vimeo page.
While you’re kicking around, be sure to check out some of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – team Vimeo has curated for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device … SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting, and you may just stumble across your new favorite filmmaker.