At the tail end of a great date, Jack and Rachel bond over a shared interest in deconstructing traditional relationship structures.

When Jack reveals the reality of his “radical” open relationship, things take a turn for the absurd in this short film about the co-option of the language of liberation as means of manipulation and control. Bianca Poletti returns to Film Shortage with another radical short, after a couple of wild shorts like ‘How’s the world treating you?‘ and ‘The Romantics‘, and some stylistic music videos like ‘Dreamland‘ and ‘Mary‘, ‘Radical Honesty’ must be Bianca’s most complete film to date. We got a chance to talk with Bianca about her film.

Can you tell us what inspired you to bring this story to life?

Allison wrote the script and came to me with it and I immediately loved and connected with how wonderfully current the story was. It’s a conversation we’ve all experienced in some way (if not on the same topic, then at least the “dating-in-the-21st-century” awkwardness of it). I was very excited to dig into it more, and started thinking of ways to expand the world slightly outside of their conversation and to bring the humor out of the situation.

This film is all about the vibes, a signature in all your films. What were your intentions in terms of styling and tempo?

Thank you, that’s nice to read! I really wanted to play with juxtaposition with this story, we have this very modern pairing and conversation within this very old and retro diner. That goes for the styling of the waitress, and the music throughout the film. As far as tempo goes, I wanted to make sure we had some energy and hints of humor, hints of what we’re about to experience, so I added the waitress and that Steadicam opening shot, which gives us that little jolt of energy before we land on their conversation. The same goes for the aspect ratio, at the top of the film we start closer to 1:1 and once we land on our modern couple and their very current conversation, the screen widens to match that.

Your cast did a fantastic job with this “radical” dialogue. Where did you find them and what were you looking for in a cast?

They’re really so naturally talented those two!

I directed both Allison and John in separate music videos before and I remember after working with them thinking to myself that I really wanted to work with them on something more narrative. Then Allison came to me with ‘Radical Honesty’ with herself in mind as the lead and mentioned the idea of John playing opposite her. I immediately agreed and loved the idea of pairing the two of them together for this. They both have a very honest way of acting, and I absolutely love that. This story needed to feel very real, and the casting needed to match the youthful aspect of the conversation as well. They both nailed it.

Do you have any tips or advice to offer fellow filmmakers?

Everyone’s path is different, but the thing that has worked for me is to just keep creating and sharing my work. Fund your own projects if you have to, use your friends as actors, don’t get caught up with jumping steps and the need to make a masterpiece with your first film, make what feels true to you, what you’re interested in, and keep doing it. Keep learning and growing. I learn something new every time I make a film, it’s endless, but there’s something really exciting about that.

What do you hope people will take away from ‘Radical Honesty’?

Don’t trust men with puka shell necklaces? I kid I kid… On a surface level, I hope that they can relate to the conversation in some way and find the humor in it. On a deeper level that relationships are about honest communication and trust.

What are your favorite short films?

I recently watched this french holiday short called ‘Like the ones I used to know‘ (Featured on FS) which I’ve probably watched at least 5 times now. It’s a very very simple story, but it did such a beautiful job showing you what divorce can look like, not only for the child but for the parents as well.

Maddie‘. Again, super simple storyline but so current and real. I’m also just always a sucker for coming-of-age stories, they’re my favorite.

And ‘I’m here‘ is another favorite.

Which films you can say directly inspired this film?

Tonally I’d say ‘White Lotus’, specifically the charmingly awkward dinner scenes that you can’t escape from. Visually, ‘The end of the fucking world’ (the diner scenes) and ‘Paris, Texas’ for the neons. The camera movement for the opening scene where we track the waitress which leads us into the conversation is obviously (unavoidably?) inspired by the opening one-shots in Goodfellas and Boogie Nights. Both scenes do such an incredible job of showing us what kind of world we’re stepping into and introducing us to all of the characters in it seamlessly.