The shadow of the New York Film Festival is long, but there’s lots to be excited for after NYFF ends! Local Color: The Short Films of Dustin Guy Defa will have a one-week run from October 14 – 20. After that, we’ve got series and retrospectives on tap that are sure to make cinephiles’ mouths water.
“Good short films don’t get the attention that they deserve, which is all the more grievous as there are some terrific short films being made—and Defa is making many of them,” wrote Richard Brody (The New Yorker) in admiration of the director’s Person to Person, an official selection of last year’s New Directors/New Films and part of Local Color. “Put ’em together and it’s almost a feature release, which is what these richly thoughtful yet ultra-low-budget films merit.”
With a body of work comprised mostly of intensely personal, category-defying short films, Dustin Guy Defa has rapidly established himself as one of the most unique and promising voices in American independent cinema today. Defa’s short-form output ranges from visionary reconstructions of found footage and home movies that are as comical as they are mortifying, to low-key dramas rich with atmosphere, sense of place, and unforgettable characters. The works included in this showcase all evidence the satisfying and alluring je ne sais quoi of Defa’s artistry, a mysterious touch that translates the situations he depicts into an intoxicating swirl of sensuously composed images and clever writing.
In addition to Person to Person, Local Color also includes Family Nightmare (2011), Declaration of War (2013), Lydia Hoffman Lydia Hoffman (2013), and Review (2015), an official selection of the 53rd New York Film Festival. The Film Society is pleased to present this selection of Defa’s short films for a one-week run, with Defa in person to discuss his work. Tickets will go on sale Thursday, September 24.
We’re also excited to bring you a sneak peak at our programming for the rest of the season, including annual festivals Scary Movies 9 (October 30 – November 5) and Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema (December 2 – 7); retrospectives of Seijun Suzuki (November 6 – 17), Todd Haynes (November 18 – 29), and Douglas Sirk (December 23 – January 6); and a series pairing films by David Lynch and Jacques Rivette (December 11 – 22). Complete lineups and schedules to be announced.
Local Color: The Short Films of Dustin Guy Defa
Declaration of War
Dustin Guy Defa, USA, 2013, digital projection, 7m
Defa takes the piss out of Bush-era foreign policy as our then-President’s declaration of the War on Terror is met by an unrelenting standing ovation.
Dustin Guy Defa, USA, 2011, HDCAM, 10m
Defa delves into his family’s home-movie archive for this by turns bleak and funny but always moving Bosch-esque group portrait, an act of personal exorcism on VHS.
Lydia Hoffman Lydia Hoffman
Dustin Guy Defa, USA, 2013, HDCAM, 15m
After being dumped by her fed-up boyfriend (Josh Safdie), a young woman (Hannah Gross), allows an alluring stranger (Dakota Goldhor) to crash at her place, unwittingly opening a Pandora’s Box of insecurities and paranoia.
Person to Person
Dustin Guy Defa, USA, 2014, HDCAM, 18m
The morning after hosting a party, record-store clerk Benny (Bene Coopersmith) finds a stranger (Deragh Campbell) passed out on his floor; upon waking, she refuses to leave. A New Directors/New Films 2014 selection.
Dustin Guy Defa, USA, 2015, digital projection, 4m
A young woman recounts a story to a group of friends who listen on with rapt attention, but the tale sounds very familiar… An NYFF53 selection.
Local Color screens daily October 14 – 20 at 5, 7, and 9pm, with additional 1 and 3pm matinees on Friday, October 16 and Sunday, October 18.
Scary Movies 9
October 30 – November 5
Now in its ninth edition, New York’s top festival for quality horror from around the globe is back with a vengeance. This year’s fright fest will bring you a collection of hair-raising premieres and rediscovered classics, as well as guest appearances, giveaways, and a Halloween celebration to kick off an exhilarating week of terrifying shockers and demented mayhem.
Action and Anarchy: The Films of Seijun Suzuki
November 6 – 17
In a career spanning nearly five decades, Seijun Suzuki amassed a body of work ranging from B-movie potboilers to beguiling metaphysical mysteries. A stylistic innovator working within—and rebelling against—the commercial constraints of B-movie studio work, Suzuki has been praised and had his work referenced by devotees such as Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino. On the occasion of the publication of Tom Vick’s new book, Time and Place are Nonsense: The Films of Seijun Suzuki, the Film Society presents a retrospective of Suzuki’s films, ranging from his greatest hits to a selection of seldom-seen rarities. This series is co-organized with the Japan Foundation.
Todd Haynes Retrospective
November 18 – 29
Todd Haynes has always been a bold iconoclast as well as a canny updater of directors like Max Ophüls, John M. Stahl, and Douglas Sirk. But his subversive and sleek films are more than theoretical treatises or referential grab bags: they are richly textured, emotionally astute, and grounded in specific, tumultuous moments in American history. His latest, Carol, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s pioneering lesbian-themed romance novel The Price of Salt, is one of his boldest films, and perhaps the most moving to date. The Film Society is proud to present this comprehensive survey of Haynes’s deeply influential body of work, supplemented by a selection of his own influences.
Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema
December 2 – 7
Making Waves returns for its 10th edition, featuring a cross section of narrative features, documentaries, and shorts, including the latest from Corneliu Porumboiu (The Treasure, NYFF53 Official Selection) and other festival-circuit favorites such as Tudor Giurgiu’s Why Me? and Radu Jude’s Aferim!, Romania’s submission for the the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Other highlights this year include a focus on director Mircea Daneliuc, as well as special screenings of Cristi Puiu’s The Death of Mr Lazarescu (2005) and Cristian Nemescu’s California Dreamin’ (2007) to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Making Waves. The series will also feature panels, special guests, and a continuation of last year’s Creative Freedom Through Cinema program, examining the relationship between art and politics in Eastern Europe and spotlighting work from Georgia and the Republic of Moldova.
December 11 – 22
Jacques Rivette and David Lynch rank among the most acclaimed and enigmatic film directors of the past 50 years, uncompromising iconoclasts with sui generis sensibilities and devoted cult followings. This dual retrospective aims to reveal the profound affinities and eerie correspondences between the dark, sometimes mystical, always fascinating visions of these two modern masters. Seven Lynch films are paired here with seven Rivette films. Some of the couplings are premised on thematic similarities; others on tonal kinships. Each is a suggestive double bill that might allow us to see these films, and perhaps reality itself, anew.
December 23 – January 6
When Douglas Sirk retired from American filmmaking and returned to Europe at the end of the 1950s, his reputation was that of a director who simply churned out glossy Hollywood weepies. But after a major critical reappraisal, the German-born filmmaker was reclaimed as an auteur with a varied body of work, a studied eye for visuals, and a sophisticated understanding of Brechtian artifice, as well as one of cinema’s greatest ironists. This retrospective, the largest in New York City in decades, tracks Sirk’s profoundly influential artistry from his early German films through to his most iconic melodramas, and nearly everything in between.