Alex Ross Perry's retrospective at the 14. AFF. Director will visit Wroclaw

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It's easy to like good people. Even when things don't work out for them, or when they fail spectacularly at something, we eventually come back to them with a sense that it was just a temporary lapse in character. We also take a (somewhat sinful) pleasure in watching unequivocally bad people because we are fascinated by their thoughts and motivations. But what about people who are somewhere in between – the frustrated, the narcissists, the outsiders with an unsympathetic disposition? These are the individuals whom Alex Ross Perry, to whom we will dedicate another of our retrospectives at the 14th American Film Festival, chooses as the protagonists of his films. The director will visit Wrocław, where he will receive one of this year's Indie Star Awards.

Perry, who successfully blends independent filmmaking with Hollywood shtick, joins the ranks of winners of the award, which is given to authors of American indie cinema who boldly walk their own path. Previous recipients of the award include, among others, John Waters, Todd Solondz and Nina Menkes. Alex Ross Perry will also meet with festival audiences after selected screenings of films he has made both as a director, and as a writer or producer. The 14th AFF will also feature a special masterclass, and will be accompanied by a cinematic surprise.

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Love – hate relationships. Alex Ross Perry's Cinema

In Alex Ross Perry's films, the protagonists don't seek our sympathy. Their self-love is entirely sufficient for them. The endless, narcissistic monologues they incessantly deliver soon reveal a desperation that turns them into incantations that have lost their power. Instead of dealing with posthumous characters that heavily populate the world of Sundance cinema, Perry prefers to devote his attention to the misanthropes, the frustrated, and the outsiders. His zealous attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the origins of their attitudes makes him one of the most original filmmakers in American independent cinema.

Perry's method works, because the Listen Up Philip director resists the temptation to look down on seemingly antipathetic characters with superiority. Instead, he prefers to acknowledge that he is, in a sense, one of them, a point he made early in his career by casting himself in the leading male role in The Color Wheel.

Perhaps the ability to create multi-dimensional heroes who reveal more hidden flaws to the world and continually allow themselves to be tempted by supposedly cool things they will never do again, Perry took from his literary masters: Philip Roth, David Foster Wallace and Thomas Pynchon. Inspiration from their work can be seen, for example, in the aforementioned The Color Wheel and Listen Up Philip, but also in the ambiguous approach to irony, full of fascination and distance at the same time.

Regardless of his impressive literary erudition, however, the creator of Queen of Earth remains first and foremost a versatile man of cinema: Perry is now not only a director, actor and screenwriter (believe it or not, he co-wrote the film Christopher Robin set in the Winnie the Pooh universe), but also a producer. In the latter role, he was recently successful with The Sweet East, which premiered at Cannes.

You can read more about Alex Ross Perry's work in Piotr Czerkawski’s curatorial text.

Read the curatorial text

Films presented as part of the retrospective

  • The Color Wheel (2011)
  • Listen Up Philip (2014)
  • Queen of Earth (2015)
  • Golden Exits (2017)
  • Her Smell (2018)
  • The Sweet East, dir. Sean Price Williams, prod. Alex Ross Perry (2023)
  • As well as a set of short films, documentaries and music videos


In the upcoming weeks, we'll unveil additional program details, with the full program scheduled for release on October 24th. Starting the following day, you can purchase individual tickets for festival screenings.

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