Smart, hilarious, prickly, weird, articulate, silly, inappropriate, familiar, inspiring, singular, nutzo, and really freakin' wonderful. These are just a few of the words I can think of to describe Alex Ross Perry's The Color Wheel which I saw last night at BAMcinemaFest. Directed by Perry and co-written by Carlen Altman, the film is shot on 16mm in black and white (because it "was cheaper," Perry said) and follows a brother and sister on a weekend road trip gone awry. I don't want to give anything away, but last night's packed house of uproarious laughter later dissolved into one of the best cases of uncomfortable audience silence I've ever experienced in le cinema. My two word review? LOVED IT.
I've said this before, but Carlen is one of the funniest people I've met in NYC. Besides doing stand-up comedy and performing in other people's indie films, she also makes guinea pig fashion videos and sells her jewelry collection of Jewish rosaries and Moses rings to places like Colette in Paris. She's also a fearless performer who isn't afraid to throw her rollicking personality into her work. She and Alex co-wrote The Color Wheel together with Alex penning the script first and Carlen rewriting all of her character's dialogue. Together they have an infectious chemistry both on and off the page, all witty banter and infuriating eye rolls punctuating their characters emotional distance from one another.
The two first met at a stand-up night and recognized similar sensibilities in one another. It was a case of "oh, we should make a movie together" and then actually following through with it. As Carlen said last night, "It feels good to finally finish something," which I'm sure many of us can relate to. Alex mentioned that he'd seen 179 movies at BAM and that it was a dream fulfilled to finally have his own film screen there. I was totally inspired afterwards, especially after they both thanked the audience adding that everyone should go out there and make what they want to make. Here's hoping they make more.