Loving the Future

Today I’m obsessed with the Future by Miranda July.  I have loved her since loving her film  Me and You and Everyone We Know, which led me to her website learningtoloveyoumore.com, on which members of the general public would take assignments given by Miranda, and post the results, usually as photos or written documents, other times as video or audio. The assignments ranged from mundane  (“Fix something”), ironic fun (“Make a gallery out of art from your parent’s house”) to truly crafty (“Make a paper replica of your bed”). The results ranged from hilarious to heartbreaking. The website accepted submissions for years, until it was acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as a permanent archive.

It took me awhile to finally see the Future. I don’t know why. Sometimes I buy books and don’t read them for years, when the time and circumstances are finally right. Today I was nursing my body back to health after a bout with food poisoning, so dreamy contemplative July style seemed tonic.

At one point I almost fell asleep, the movie was so slow. But it was also because I had to skip the coffee this morning. I’m glad I stayed with it, because I got to wrap my mind around this trippy story and its sad characters the whole day.

Since Ms. July is an artist who likes to challenge people in a friendly way, this movie provokes viewers to engage in the story and wonder why characters do the things they do without getting the benefit of a direct answer. Just like with our friends and family, who sometimes make choices so mysterious to us, in spite of our knowing all the backstory and advice that’s been given to them. Maybe they can’t answer why. But if we care enough to really think deeply about it, we might feel some understanding. Without knowing. The Future is not a movie to be consumed, but to mull over like a dream.

At one point after watching for awhile I thought, why make a film about these characters, Miranda? Why not a novel or story? But then I saw her do something so sensual and strange and physical, it could never be described in words, like that famous quote “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture” (Laurie Anderson?). It is a dance, a special special dance of a dancer who wants to be seen but doesn’t want to be seen, wrapped in a haunted security blanket. And if you really notice the details of this movie, you might see that it is all a dance. Check out those moves. Does the character Sophie want a viewer? Or a partner? Will she ever get either? Will her partner ever be a father, or does she need her partner to act like her father? And if so, does she want a father figure who will let his daughter bury herself up to the neck like a tomb in dirt?

Sophie can’t say what she wants. Even in her head. That’s why Miranda had to film her. Because who dreams in text?

Check out www.mirandajuly.com

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