Sunday, January 13, 2013

July in January

by Drew Martin
I recently watched two of Miranda July's films, Me You and Everyone We Know (2005), and The Future (2011). The great thing about her movies is that she comes to cinema as a performance and video artist, and has a sensibility in these films that you do not find elsewhere. In The Future, July plays a character who cheats on, and leaves her boyfriend. She moves in with an older man and his young daughter. An extra-large t-shirt (possibly a nightie she slept in with her boyfriend or one of his shirts) crawls across Los Angeles to find her, like a cat seeking displaced owners. It represents the shelter cat the young couple was supposed to adopt before it was euthanized, and her boyfriend. She crawls inside the shirt and performs a slow, mesmerizing dance, like she is intoxicated by its scent. Her faceless, armless body expresses her emotions. It is a fascinating scene and it ties back into her initial plan, to do 30 dances in 30 days and post them online. None of her performances pan out, not even after holing up in her apartment in order to concentrate on the dances. This scene yields a brilliant dance, which is born not out of determination but from the emotional experiences of her relationships. She dances alone. We witness it unnoticed, and then her lover interrupts the scene. The end of the dance is the end of their relationship, and she returns to her boyfriend. The Future, as with Me You and Everyone We Know is full of unique scenes and great lines. My favorite from The Future is a comment July makes to her boyfriend when contemplating her looks:

I wish I was just one notch prettier. I'm right on the edge, you know? Where it's up to each person to decide for themselves. I have to make my case with each new person.