Monday, 24 October 2011

the future (w&d miranda july)

My response to this film was largely shaped by the polar reactions of two people I don't know. The first was an engaging man who we ran into outside the Coach and Horses in Soho. He looked a bit like Peter Jackson and evinced an almost pathological hatred of Miranda July and anything she touched. This was after having a measured conversation about Australia. The extent of the hatred was so pronounced that one couldn't help wondering if there were things about Ms July one just wasn't aware of. (She eats horses? She secretly voted Bush seven times? etc etc) I too found myself questioning everything about her: her aesthetics, her philosophy, her overall (faux?) kookiness. This was before the film. In the screening itself I was seated next to a young woman on my right who laughed so much at every little thing Ms July did, to the point of slapping her thigh in delight, that I found myself wondering if there wasn't something hysterically funny taking place on the screen which I was just plain missing. When the woman later started sobbing and wailing, distributing orgasmic gobs of grief as the narrative turned bleaker, it struck me that I was still some way from fully getting a handle on the whole Miranda July concept.

What is clear is that the filmmaker polarises opinion. Her first film, as far as I can recall, was a quirky, kookie, idiosyncratic offering. The Future is all of those things, but it is also bleak and perhaps personal. This is one of July's greatest conceits: like Allen or Amis, she's right there in her narratives. Is this story about a seemingly functional couple on the cusp of entering the end of the beginning of their love affair really about her? How can we separate July the character from July the filmmaker? Has she had dealings with men who wear chains?

As you can see, I emerge little the wiser. If anything I'd have to say I'm baffled by the July phenomenon. I'm still not sure if I enjoyed The Future, with its slightly annoying title, or of I hated it. I'm still not sure if it's funny or sad. Maybe the title's not actually annoying, it's really charming? Maybe this is a Borgesian twist on Los Angeles living? Maybe it's just gleefully self-indulgent nonsense? I can't make my mind up. Sometimes it's better that way.

1 comment: said...

the bit with the nod to a more talkative Georges Méliès was when it finally started working for me...