Impolex

Screening on Film
Directed by Alex Ross Perry.
With Riley O’Bryan, Kate Lyn Sheil, Bruno Meyrick Jones.
US, 2011, 35mm, color, 73 min.
Print source: Cinema Conservancy

Despite its postwar backdrop and soundtrack, Alex Ross Perry’s first feature appears relatively indifferent to nostalgia or any conspicuous artistry. Compelling despite—or perhaps because of—its funny, flat delivery, Impolex owes much of its circular inspiration to Thomas Pynchon’s notoriously sprawling novel Gravity’s Rainbow. The film follows World War II soldier Tyrone Slothrop through a forested, dreamlike purgatorial zone—which could be any number of metaphysical spaces or none at all—as he listlessly searches for two lost V-2 rockets. Tyrone’s ambiguous mission recalls Beckett as much as Carroll as it is periodically interrupted by cryptic encounters with apparitions, old friends, informants, a girlfriend and a talking octopus. His bored incoherency and sluggish apprehension of events resembles a state drug-induced or sleep-deprived. This amnesiac, dissociative fugue forces the audience to be just as lost, confused, uncomfortable, amused or philosophical. With none of the usual physical or cinematic guideposts, Perry takes his audience somewhere completely different, and sometimes it feels like going nowhere at all.

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