January 2016

"Queen of Earth"

by Alex Ross Perry, opens May 05, 2016

Catherine and Virginia are best friends. Last year, Virginia wasn’t doing well, while it’s Catherine who’s struggling this year. Virginia’s parents own a lakeside cabin, the perfect place for a week of mutual wound licking. Sun pours in through the windows, framing the cool green of the trees outside. But this isn’t the refuge it seems and it’s not just the music that awakens the menace in the images. The ripples across the lake and the wan sunlight offer little comfort, to say nothing of the picture of a skull lying forgotten in a cupboard. Last year’s events keep crashing in upon the present, things weren’t good then and they aren’t better now. When the two women confide in one another, it’s like two separate monologues, the camera gliding between their strained faces as if they were one and the same. They otherwise stick to wry barbs, each criticizing the other’s privilege as they still cling on to their bond. As salad leaves wilt, men come and go, and tension gives way to hostility, what even remains of this friendship? Dark-ringed eyes alight with rage, a stream of quiet bile, one face cut into another, two true Queens of Earth. (James Lattimer)

Alex Ross Perry on his film: Cruel intrusiveness
I wanted to challenge myself. I have made a few films in a row that are categorised as comedies, meaning some people laugh when watching them. With the support of a returning crew of close col - laborators, it seemed only natural to create a film that took similar themes of misery and loneliness in a direction more adherent to the conventions of a psychological thriller than anything people find overtly amusing. This film is about privacy. I have noticed that people are almost chemically resistant to giving others any space for themselves. "Queen of Earth" is about one woman’s reaction to the world’s refusal to leave her alone. Dishonesty, cruelty and curiosity are one and the same. The prying and the incessant joy that people get from knowing information about anybody other than themselves feels like a societal sickness, and this is about a character who finds her immunity to that sickness slowly deteriorating in the face of her own personal tragedy.

"Often, the camera would make like Tinker Bell, flitting between the characters to peek from behind one and gawp at the other. Mr. Perry avoids over-the-shoulder shots, but, as suggested by the opener that turns Catherine’s face into a landscape of pain, he likes claustrophobic close-ups. Like the movie, these close-ups are alternately mesmerizing and suffocating, which dovetails with Mr. Perry’s pull-push strategy of bringing you uncomfortably close to the action, to the tears and the drama, only to shove you away... Perched comfortably between art house and mainstream filmmaking idioms, Mr. Perry does a great deal with his hybrid visual style, emotional palette, restricted location and a minimal cast." Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Alex Ross Perry was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1984. He attended the Tisch School of the Arts at New York Uni - versity and worked at Kim’s Video in Manhattan. Perry lives in Brooklyn, New York. Films: 2009: Impolex (73 min.). 2011: The Color Wheel (83 min.). 2014: Listen Up Philip (108 min.). 2015: Queen of Earth.


QUEEN OF EARTH
USA 2015. Format: DCP, BluRay (shot on 16mm). Color. 90 Mins. English with German subtitles. Producers: Elisabeth Moss, Alex Ross Perry, Adam Piotrowicz, Joe Swanberg. Production Companies: Her Majesty September (New York, USA); Forager Film Company (Chicago, USA). Screenplay, Director: Alex Ross Perry. Camera: Sean Price Williams. Production Design: Anna Bak-Kvapil. Costume Design: Amanda Ford. Make-up: Amy Forsythe. Sound: Clayton Castellanos. Music: Keegan DeWitt. Sound Design: Ryan Price. Editor: Robert Greene. Cast: Elisabeth Moss (Catherine), Katherine Waterston (Virginia), Patrick Fugit (Rich), Kentucker Audley (James), Keith Poulson (Keith), Kate Lyn Sheil (Michelle), Craig Butta (Gärtner). World premiere: February 7, 2015, Berlinale Forum.