Queen of Earth screens at Chicago’s Music Box Theater on Friday, September 4th. It is also available on VOD and iTunes.
Queen of Earth, Alex Ross Perry’s fourth film, is about a woman who is stuck in the there and then, struggling to find herself in the here and now. The first time we see Catherine (Elisabeth Moss) we find her in close-up with the camera placed slightly above her eyeline, forcing the actress’ gaze up as she pleads with an off-camera boyfriend who is leaving her. She wears a mask of smeared mascara accentuated by a red nose; as Manohla Dargis points out, she looks a bit like a clown. It’s a sharp indicator of things to come, as Perry develops a film composed of the dualities of depression; of the unbending and flexible, of the comic and the sorrowful, of understanding and judgment, of friends and enemies, and of the past and present.
Following Catherine’s tearful break-up, she retreats to a lake house with her friend Virginia (Katherine Waterston). Perry is deliberate with detail, not immediately establishing their history; there’s an uneasy tension between them that puts their friendship in doubt. For a writer/director whose previous film Listen Up Philip was defined for its lexically acrobatic narration and liberal submission of (at times picayune) detail, this anxious and miasmic tone that Perry adopts is a major departure and a successful one.Read More