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Review: The Future (2011)

Director: | 91 minutes | | Actors: Miranda July, , , ,

Sophie (Miranda July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater). Loved ones. How much they look alike. Their hair. Their complexion. That somewhat narrow face. Like two sides of a coin. They also sit opposite each other on the couch, in the beginning. Hidden behind laptops. “The Future”, also directed and written by Miranda July, keeps returning to their one-room apartments. That space remains unchanged, everything else ripples with the times. Although Jason claims that he can stop it with a movement of his hand. They adopt an injured street cat. Call her (or him) Paw-Paw. According to the vet, she still has six months to live. That is manageable. After that, everything will go back to what it is now, Jason and Sophie explain. In a month they can pick him up: “Be on time, because the pens are full and we will be committing euthanasia.”

Sophie gives dance lessons to children. She talks, but comes across as a pantomime pierrot … who just fails to seduce the webcam with her movements. While a voluptuous colleague from the dance school gets so ten thousand views. Jason provides first aid for computer problems to anonymous home callers, as a Horizicom employee. They are thirty-five years old: “Almost forty. Forty is actually already fifty, and we all know it will be over after that. ” So this was their life, if they don’t watch out. “What would we do if we died in a month?” In any case, they adjust their priorities. They decide to go their separate ways for thirty days. Follow their calling, give meaning to life. But what if they forget their love for each other along the way? They agree on a signal, in the belief that it will – later – trigger a Pavlovian reaction. Jason tosses the helpdesk ax and joins the Boom-by-Boom movement. He goes door to door: “Do you have a moment to reduce global warming?” Sophie throws herself into a dance video. It must become a physical ego document, a milestone. But she cannot get away from herself to express herself. She gets to know Marshall (David Warshofksy) through a telephone number on the back of a drawing. “This is a strange conversation,” he tells her. She screams out of a window hoping he can hear her. It’s a weird relationship that develops between them. Jason, meanwhile, buys her a hairdryer from another older man, Joe (Joe Putterlik). He’s been married for 60 years and writes bawdy limericks about Santa. He tells Jason that a relationship gets better with age. “You’re in the middle of the beginning,” he tells Jason. In between Sophie and Jason’s quests, Paw-Paw speaks: cat in anticipation. With a grating, distorted mirandajulystem that is always accompanied by mesmerizing . Paw-Paw reinforces her words with suspiciously human movements of her legs. One front paw is wearing a white bandage. She waits, fantasizes, hopes for that moment, in thirty days.

After “Me and You and Everyone We Know”, “The Future” is the second full-length by visual artist Miranda July (real last name: Grossinger). “The Future” uses space in time to investigate the passage of time. Or better: the inescapable consequences for your life. Everything happens, and happens, and happens: a rose is a rose is suddenly no longer a rose. While you watched it all this time. You can have the illusion of influencing that change or be able to stop time, like Jason. Howling at the moon, he goes against the rigidity of the future, tries to bring about a return to the old. He just ends up in no man’s land. Sophie, in turn, gets carried away. An attitude that is not satisfying either. She searches, does and feels and at the same time seems like a dazed spectator. Sometimes you can find her in places where she clearly does not belong. In a boringly raked living room or in the arms of an entrepreneur. Or is that barren suburb perhaps “her place”? Sophie’s life continues. Life guides itself – “The Future” shows how two people deal with it. Acts in “The Future” sometimes feel like emphatic musings – deliberately accomplished, almost artificial, but equally elusive. Characters are in the service of those musings, villains against the caricature. That can put a dent in your involvement here and there. You can reach a point where you doubt what you are looking at. However, that seems exactly the intention (as it also applies to films by ). After all, it is precisely there that the confusion and foolishness of life resonates. One human being can only experience it, Miranda July climbed above it and made it “The Future”.

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