Thursday, September 03, 2015

Persona Non Meta

Sometimes I'll go read somebody else's review of something in order to inspire myself, word-wise, and so it went today as I tried to slap together some words of Elisabeth Moss in Alex Ross Perry's new film Queen of Earth -- I went and I read Manohla Dargis' review in the Times, and sure enough she name-dropped several of the movies I felt like name-dropping: a hint of Persona, a splash of Repulsion, a quiver and a shim of Fassbinder. It's not the Fassbinder I would've gone with -- Manhola thinks of The Marriage of Maria Braun but to me it's much more Veronika Voss -- but still, crazy lady movies, ho. (Also Dargis says Queen's curlicue font reminds her of Braun but come on, that font is straight-up Rosemary's Baby.)

There's also a pretty awesome typo, 
which I snapped a shot of:

It's worth NOTING that it's worth NOTHING.

The movie that Dargis doesn't name that was first and foremost in my mind watching Queen of Earth though is Andrzej Zulawski's 1981 masterpiece of lady madness Possession. Possession's had a renaissance amongst we the high-minded city cineastes over the past few years, among whom Mr. Perry no doubt counts himself, so I've no doubt he's obsessed about Possession along with us - if I googled I'm sure it I'd find him talking about it some place online, in fact. Anyway I'm shocked he maintained the restraint to not show Elisabeth Moss humping a squid at some point; perhaps it'll be in the DVD extras.

If you can sense some cynicism in my voice here, good -- I was good with a lot of Queen of Earth; I like the films he's referencing, all of them, and I like to think about them! And Moss & Katherine Waterston are both giving as committed-to-Cassavetes performances as we're gonna see in American Films these days. But where Perry's last film, the rascally mean-spirited Listen Up Philip, felt pulled up on its own boot-straps, mostly this new film feels like a pile-up of shout-outs; by the time the last act collapses upon us I felt more smothered than anything else. It is worth noting that the two fencers statue is worth nothing, actually -- it's just a tip of the hat to an existential duel being fought somewhere down your DVD shelf.


Anonymous said...

I don't care about your movie reviews. Post more naked men and their backsides, please.

sissyinhwd said...

Did you know Michelle Dockery was original cast as Virginia but dropped-out.

I think I liked the film a bit more than you, in fact there's not much in which I find fault. All of Moss' performance the last few years have been masterful.

I agree with all the film and director references that have been pointed out. I'd like to add Todd Haynes to the group. The treatment of women and the soft autumnal feel had a bit of his touch.

Glenn said...

The two films I saw in this were Robert Altman's That Cold Day in the Park and Images.