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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Entries in Alex Ross Perry (5)


Soundtracking: Her Smell

by Chris Feil

It’s not incorrect to call Alex Ross Perry’s Her Smell a musical, it just feels like a simple categorization doesn’t contain all of the levels that the film operates on. It’s also King Lear on downstairs cocaine, a Cassavettes character study, and an epic saga of female friendship. And of course it’s also a subtle period piece, unfolding over the years when Spin magazine reigned supreme, bad behavior was a natural extension of star persona, and grunge and punk excesses converged into a million different stylistic offshoots.

But music remains the film’s connective tissue, whether it is pushed to the background by the impossible behavior of Elisabeth Moss’s demonic antihero Becky Something or returns because of her genius. What makes it all work is that the music feels authentic both to the period and the specific, fractious aesthetic Perry is going for.

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Review: Her Smell

by Chris Feil

Some audiences may be unprepared for the full force slap that Alex Ross Perry’s Her Smell has in store. It pulls no punches from the jump, immediately plopping us into the halls of a hellish backstage captured in serpentine camera fluidity. We’re immediately caught in the circus of early-90s addict punk rocker Becky Something, a monstrous and damaged creation from Perry’s muse Elisabeth Moss. And just as you get used to the manic construction around her, as Perry douses us in a fecund sound design and sweaty neon palette, the film shifts into something quite moving and rigorous on all of its levels. This is something more ambitious and soul-baring than the music dramas to which we’ve grown accustomed.

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NYFF: Elisabeth Moss's Primal Scream in "Her Smell"

Jason Adams reporting on the New York Film Festival which kicks off Friday

On The Handmaid's Tale Elisabeth Moss is all internalized feminist rage - a sublimated sneer, her Offred says one thing ("Under His eye"), but her eyes, the curl of her mouth, (and also her voice-over) say quite another. But what of her smell? Oh no, Handmaids don't get to stink. They are clean and holy vessels, scrubbed raw of female afflictions. Rock Stars, on the other hand... the real world ain't Gilead (not quite yet anyway) and we're still gonna scream and stink and scream. And Alex Ross Perry's Her Smell screams. Primal screams. This is the rage we've been waiting for...

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Live Action Christopher Robin Flick Coming Your Way

Manuel here with news of what has to be the curious-est film in Disney's quite crowded animation-to-live-action slate of films. As we await the carbon-copy version of Beauty and the Beast and keep worrying that somehow the execs will manage to screw up the upcoming Mulan feature film, news broke last week that the Mouse House had tapped Marc Forster (World War Z, Quantum of Solace) to direct Christopher Robin. 

Yes, Winnie the Pooh's Christopher Robin is getting the live-action fantasy film treatment. (This is not to be confused with the current filming A.A. Milne biopic.) Here's the brief description of the project:

The story catches up with Christopher Robin – the character based on author A. A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne – as an adult who has grown out of the joyful imagination he had as a child. Now a businessman, he prioritizes his work life over his wife and daughter, and must find his inner child once again.

I know I'm supposed to get Finding Neverland vibes (given Forster's involvement) but I also couldn't help think back to this year's The Little Prince which also aimed to reimagine a beloved childhood favorite into a meta-story about finding one's inner child-like wonder. Though, perhaps the most curious thing about the entire project is its screenwriter: Alex Ross Perry. Yes, that Alex Ross Perry.

Can the Queen of Earth and Listen Up Phillip screenwriter manage to make this cloying-sounding project have the edge it might need to set itself apart? Or is this (yet another) craven cash-grab by a studio intent on pilfering all of its properties?


'Queen of Earth' and the Films of Alex Ross Perry

Glenn here to discuss Alex Ross Perry whose latest film opens in cinemas and VOD next week. He is a curious one who we haven't discussed much about here at The Film Experience. He's made four films, not one which is alike, yet which all feature obvious hints of the same creator. Impolex, his debut, is made with such a strong and unwavering idea of what it wants to be that it’d be a perfect calling card for a director if it wasn’t so different to the rest of his output. It is both a curious fascination and a frustratingly inert experimental concoction of a film with mumbled dialogue and absurd comedy (there is a talking octopus, if I remember correctly) that doesn’t so much predict Perry’s future career as it does suggest recurring ideas. If all one watched was the expert scene late in the film, dearly acted by Kate Lyn Sheil – unsurprisingly, a common figure in Joe Swanberg’s equally confounding and experimental genre-tripping films Silver Bullets, AutoErotic and The Zone from the same era – as she opens up to our dope of a lead character you might be forgiven for thinking it was something far less esoteric than the full film really it.

As that 2009 film was being released in the most limited of releases two years later, The Color Wheel was causing mayhem on the festival circuit. The much ballyhooed film was an Independent Spirit Award nominee in the blessed John Cassavetes category is the sort of that could bring about illusions of a particularly prickly Brooklyn-born twentysomething version of Woody Allen if it weren’t, you know, for that whole incest thing. It’s use of black and white 16mm filmstock was inspired and it was meticulously scripted with no improvisation and structural hints to classic cinema, highlighting Perry’s very dialogue-focused style that navigates in very specifically modern contexts the way people can change and challenge us emotionally and physically in ways we might not want or expect.

Listen Up Philip, Queen of Earth & Mad Max: Fury Road (!) after the jump

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