I missed this in New York and was intrigued but somewhat doubtful as to how I would feel about it. So I was glad to have the chance to see it in Madrid with the added interest of Spanish subtitles. I need not have worried. Miranda July’s THE FUTURE is eccentrically lovely, a small act of lyrical surrealism that captures the uncertainty of our futures in an historical moment when they have become so much more so for so many.
There are at least two types of surrealism: the impossible image (as of the moon speaking during a moment of frozen time) or the possible image that calls to mind the otherworldly (as of a woman enwrapped in an upside down tee-shirt, transforming herself into a faceless, armless being). July’s filmmaking is, to be sure, rather arch and rather cutie-pie (it is narrated by a cat, or, to be accurate, an ex-cat). And the same might be said of her as a performer (there is something disconcertingly vacant – given her evident intelligence – in her eyes).
But the final effect of THE FUTURE is lovely, even heartrending, spiritual without being mystical or naive, with past, present and future each lost and gained in turn. That is in many ways the film’s point: that an excessive focus on the future elides both past and present and can end with the loss of the future itself.
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