A series of fictionalized vignettes examining a lopsided power dynamic between a male director and his actresses. Playfully presented but offering a sharp satirical edge, “Dramatic Relationships” is comprised of several behind the scenes exchanges that expose subtle but distressing instances of misogyny, exploitation and derision.
The unseen director (voiced just off-camera by actual director, Dustin Guy Defa) never has notes for his male actors, while most of his direction to the women is based on appearance. Particularly uncomfortable is an interaction with an actress (played by Lindsay Burdge) who doesn’t see any reason why her shirt should be unbuttoned all the way down to her bra. The director holds more power and so she reluctantly agrees. But luckily we’re viewing this largely from the perspective of the women and with each featured interaction, there’s a clearer sense that they don’t have to put up with this anymore and won’t. Specifically, a closing scene showing a woman resting in bed (Hannah Gross) aims to wrest back control of the situation with a strangely defiant act. (7 minutes). Official Selection: New York Film Festival. Directed by Dustin Guy Defa. Cinematographer Zach Levy. Starring Elisa Lasowski, Bingham Bryant, Lindsay Burdge, Stephen Gurewitz, Jennifer Kim, Hannah Gross, Keith Paulson, Agostina Gálvez, and Jay Giampietro.