Alex Ross Perry returned to the New York Film Festival with his five-act punk drama Her Smell, featuring a powerhouse performance from Elisabeth Moss. We spoke with the filmmaker about how attending programs at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, including our Paul Verhoeven retrospective and The Female Gaze, helped shape his work. He also discussed his New York Film Festival memories, including a former Centerpiece selection that directly influenced the structure of Her Smell.
The latest from Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip, NYFF52) traces the psychology of an unforgettable woman under the influence. Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss, in a powerhouse performance), the influential lead singer of a popular ’90s alt-rock outfit, struggles with her demons as friends, family, and bandmates alike behold her unraveling through a prism of horror, empathy, and resentment. Perry tracks Becky’s self-destruction—and potential creative redemption—through snaking long takes (arguably some of DP Sean Price Williams’s finest work) in claustrophobic backstage hallways, garishly lit dressing rooms, and recording studios, and the film’s ensemble cast (including Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson, Amber Heard, Virginia Madsen, Dan Stevens and Eric Stoltz) is impeccable in support of Moss’s rattling trip to the brink.
The 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring top films from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. Since 1963, NYFF has brought new and important cinematic works from around the world to Lincoln Center. In addition to the Main Slate official selections, the festival includes newly restored classics, special events, filmmaker talks, panel discussions, the avant-garde showcase Projections, and much more.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema. The only branch of the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center to shine a light on the everlasting yet evolving importance of the moving image, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international film. Via year-round programming and discussions; its annual New York Film Festival; and its publications, including Film Comment, the U.S.’s premier magazine about films and film culture, the Film Society endeavors to make the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broader audience, as well as to ensure that it will remain an essential art form for years to come.
More info: filmlinc.org