Sophy Romvari’s latest short It’s What Each Person Needs is a stunning analysis of the foundations of identity. Her usual magical weaving of fact and fiction is especially potent in this film as she shapes an intimate portrait of her subject, actor Becca Willow Moss, into a larger statement on our public and private selves. Although much seems to be revealed in the film, one is left to ponder significant questions about the reality of knowing any person.
The details provided are sparse but telling. Moss engages in a series of phone calls to two very different sets of clients. There are the lonely men who crave female companionship, and there are the elderly who require kindness and sometimes a nostalgic old song. At the same time, Romvari intersperses extreme close ups of Moss’s hands.
The common thread here is the desire for a connection, but the irony is that they can only attain it through technology. On one side, there’s the internet and on the other, the antiquated phone call. No matter the method, there is no direct contact.
It’s What Each Person Needs shows a woman at her most playfully provocative self who then transforms into a good girl persona who, in this case, takes care of multiple grandparent figures. Which one is the actual person?
Romvari’s evocative style is once again key to this revealing study. It keeps us actively debating the film’s documentary nature versus its poetic license. It would seem that her strategy involving tight close-ups would result in a narrowly focused work but with her editing strategy functioning more like a collage that develops in time, Romvari is able to create a more profound, wide-ranging effect.
Once again, Romvari brilliantly shows us that a simple cinematic approach can reverberate with endless possibilities. In Its What Every Person Needs, Romvari’s signature eye for detail speaks volumes: even the smallest of gestures take on a greater significance.
Coupled with her ingenious command of cinematic language, Romvari creates a transcendent film. In It’s What Each Person Needs, Romvari’s apparently straightforward depiction of this person shifts ever so effortlessly into a deeper understanding of the character’s innermost essence.