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ReThink Interview: Miranda July, Director of The Future

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You might know a lot about Miranda July. You might've fallen in love with her after her first film, Me and You and Everyone We Know, which won the Camera D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005, which distinguished her as one of the freshest and most promising talents in indie film -- with her excellent new film, The Future, poised to do the same. Maybe you fell for her because of her delicate but boldly exposed demeanor, or her impeccable skill/luck with vintage clothes. Or maybe it was because July is a role model to thousands (perhaps millions) of aspiring artists, proof that you can actually live out your varied creative dreams without selling out, evidenced by the fact that July has had her writing published in the New Yorker and Harper's, her projects displayed at places like New York's Guggenheim Museum, and her live pieces performed around the world.

I suspect these are also the same reasons why so many seem to hate her with such a passion. They hate her for being "precious," "twee," "hipsterish," artsy and pretentious. They hate her for her sensitivity, her attention to the seemingly mundane details of life, and the fact that she has been able to make a living making art and expressing herself. The message from these people seems to be, "Grow up! Get some boring but decent-paying job and settle down to a predictable life of resentment and missed opportunities! Kill your childlike sense of wonder! Be an 'adult' like us! Stop succeeding at living not only your dream, but the dreams of millions of others!" (I'm paraphrasing.)

Well, those critics might be happy to see July exploring the possibility of the suburban road most taken in The Future, which finds her character Sophie and her boyfriend Jason (Hamish Linklater) attempting (somewhat unsuccessfully) to live out their dreams of artistic freedom for a month before they are saddled with the responsibility of owning a wounded cat named Paw-Paw. But July's critics will surely be enraged to learn that not only does Paw-Paw talk and describe with painful earnestness what it feels like waiting in a shelter to be adopted, but that those scenes reliably elicit tears from the audience.

But even if you love Miranda July and know everything about her, you probably don't know (or care) that I went to high school with her. Back then, she was known as Miranda Grossinger. She was two grades in front of me, so I knew who she was -- conversely, as an upperclassman, she knew nothing about me. When I got the chance to talk to her while she was in LA promoting The Future, I brought my yearbook, but chickened out on having her retroactively sign it. Still, it led to a brief detour down memory lane, which you can check out in the ReThink Interview I did for the movie review show, What the Flick!

The Future opens this Friday in select theaters.

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