Some have described him as the new Woody Allen, another magazine simply declared “Alex Ross Perry is not an asshole,” to which he promptly replied that that was just one person’s opinion. Sarcastic and funny, but also thoughtful and full of well-oriented ideas, Perry first became interested in cinema and directing during high school working for a local television news program. Afterwards he moved to New York City that would influence much of his production and also his cinematic vision. He graduated from the prestigious NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Perry’s work as a director and screenwriter begun almost as a game with an amateur aim. His firsts films were made on a ridiculously low budget and thanks to the contributions of several of his friends, who he used rather than professional actors. The first two films born of these improvised parents, which all the while do not detract from the success of the projects: IMPLEX (2009) and THE COLOR WHEEL (2011), lead up to the great success of his newest film that allowed him to stand out and to deserve the title of director: LISTEN UP PHILIP.
Selected into the Official Selection, both at Sundance and at the New York Film Festival, it has also received the Special Jury Prize at the 67th Locarno Film Festival. The film tells the not-only- intellectual adventures of a brilliant, selfish and socially problematic writer who’s looking for peace and a place to discover inspiration for his second novel. He will find what he needs in leaving New York and his girlfriend Ashley (played by the charismatic Elisabeth Moss) for Ike’s countryside house, an old writer and also his idol, who has lost all creative drive and sees Philip as a great talent, and even possibly as himself in the past. The film features a cast of exceptional talent, from Jonathan Pryce to Jason Schwartzman, Wes Anderson’s habituè and founder/drummer of Phantom Planet.
One of the hallmarks of his work is the use of the camera, led by Perry’s director of photography, Sean Price Williams, which follows the characters, surrounding them, avoiding the over-abused reverse shot, and capturing the emotion two feet away from the actor’s face.
ÉCU holds in high regard his brilliant works of cinema that fully fit the definition of an indie-movie, but that also manage to carve out a distinctive and personalized storytelling style. While awaiting QUEEN OF EARTH, his upcoming psychological thriller, we encourage all filmmakers to follow the example of Alex Ross Perry, who is certainly not an asshole, even though he likes to joke about it.
Chiara Asia Carnevale