Narcissists and Close-Ups: Alex Ross Perry's "Listen Up Philip"

  • MUBI
Alex Ross Perry's second feature, The Color Wheel (2011), is now playing on Mubi in the U.S. through March 23. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky wrote about it earlier on the Notebook.

Alex Ross Perry's first two features, Impolex (2009) and The Color Wheel (2011), climax with single-take rug-pulls—performance-intensive scenes which reveal the loneliness and longing that underpins Perry's freewheeling humor. The camera style developed by Perry and his regular director of photography, Sean Price Williams, is already actor-friendly, largely handheld, and composed mostly in eye-level, three-quarter profile close-ups. These climactic sequences, however, stretch this style to its limits—unfolding as a single close-up in Impolex, continually reframing from close-up to medium shot and back again in The Color Wheel—while also straining technical limitations. (Impolex and The Color Wheel were shot on 16mm, and both films' big long takes run almost as long as a standard 400' magazine.) What makes these sequences
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