8/22/11

Kinds of Sort: Update on Viewing The Future

Watched the new Miranda July The Future last night. Those that liked the wackiness of her debut film Me and You and Everyone We Know won't be disappointed. Although her riot grrrl days are long gone and she now lives with her husband, the 45-year-old director of Beginners, in the hip plush Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, she hasn't lost her Berkeleyan quirkiness, experimental tendencies, or nag for creating characters that exemplify awkward human behavior.

In this article July tells the NYT that one of the investors in the film, a German company, requested that a percentage of the actors be German. And they were not only German, but Nazi looking German, and in very stereotypical emotionless roles. It made me wonder what the half-Jewish writer/director had in mind. Another thing that struck me was that she went all genesis on us by making the lead female character the weakest under pressure. I also noticed that in both of her mainstream films, although she expresses sympathy for the sensitive male main characters, she also points out the unfortunate social repercussions for this kind of men. At first I thought sympathizing for the male main character was a contradiction to her radical feminist history (although some feminist movements from her era were more about the idea of acting like men rather than just wanting the same basic human rights as them). But she also subtly comments on the weaknesses of both sexes when put under certain circumstances, and I get a feeling that she's trying to bring forth the idea that it's not a battle of the sexes but rather an identity crisis between new "kinds" of people, or cultural emerging species.

As a female, I understood Sophie's 35-year-old clock ticking pressure to achieve professionally and as woman. Yet emotionally I could relate more to the character of Hamish Linklater in my nature of sticking to it no matter what; my yearning to stop time; my tendency to seek the help of higher powers; the higher expectations for my now; the loss of confidence gained by disappointing behavior from people I've trusted; and reaching points of self-appointed isolation, social paralysis and depression.

Don't get me wrong, I've been trough my experimental stages in between relationships, just not while in them. I dated a divorced guy with two children once, and although I was fulfilled in the care giver role and loved playing house, the kids weren't my own, and what I've wanted the most in life is to have a family of my own. So by giving up to that situation I was also giving up on my deepest desires.

I assume that only a person that has gone through periods like that herself, or perhaps have someone close who have, could be so good at interpreting them. And yes, she might have found Joe selling a hair dryer on the Penny Saver, but most of us would've chuckled and read right pass. It takes a certain level of evolved empathy to make these kinds of character choices.

They did take 30 days to "prioritized," and perhaps having more of a "normal" family situation was a priority for Sophie. I put normal in quotations because the guy that she had an affair with was very creepy to me. But he was a single dad, had the house in the valley, the successful business — it was an instant family situation.

Searching through my mental database of self-help literature, I kept thinking of the many ways Sophie and Jason could have solved their problems. The same way my ex husband and I could have too. With the sign. Where is that darn ipod cable when you need it! Just kidding, movie inside joke. By building a solid ground in our own style before the weakest one of us gave up and made a mistake that was irreparable. In my life the weakest was the male lead character. But in the length of a film it was perhaps a way of showing the different stages in female/male development, each sex's natural desires, and how it hit a very specific kind of youth (the new 25s). I guess when Jason said he was "ready" to finally adopt the cat at 35, she was biologically wired for something more meaningful than that. Except that neither of them knew, or seemed to have put much thought into, how to go about making the necessary changes in their lives so that they could achieve social expectations, or more importantly, meet their biological needs.

THE FUTURE. Humans dealing with the same human issues but with more toys to distract us. Couples laying in couches facing each other but paying attention to laptops, memes, Youtube videos, Facebook accounts. But while losing communication/connection with each other, still made up of the same particles and with the same basic needs.

I can already imagine the raving criticism this film is going to have. I mean, you get to see July's booty (and something that's about to happen to it). But going by the soundtrack and the little subtleties that are heart melting and funny to me, but that I know are totally unperceivable to most, I feel the movie is going to do ok, but just amidst a very unique kind of audience.

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