Alex Karpovsky’s DIY Charms Grace Red Flag


In Red Flag, Alex Karpovsky plays a filmmaker named Alex who tours his film, Woodpecker, through the South immediately after breaking up with his longtime girlfriend. In real life, Karpovsky made a film called Woodpecker and toured it through the South; whether this immediately followed a breakup was not known as of press time. Probably most recognizable for his recurring role on Girls, the actor/writer/director is a fairly prolific filmmaker whose non-HBO work tends to go under the radar. Some genuinely tender moments—especially the final scene, which at this admittedly early point in 2013 qualifies as one of the best of the year—offset the occasional dramatic misfire, and Karpovsky’s DIY know-how helps maximize a pint-size budget. Karpovsky uses real post-screening Q&As as a means of explicating the subtextual leanings of not only that prior film but this one as well. This initially comes off as a fussy, self-involved technique, but like a lot else in Red Flag, it’s executed with enough charm and humor to work anyway. Karpovsky uses his onstage (and on-screen) platform to explore the power of odd, even uncomfortable situations to draw people together in equally strange ways. Though he’s not at all averse to detailing the thorny ends that inevitably arise from such situations, his focus is more on second chances and reconciliation—or at least the possibility of them.