Sunday, April 24, 2005

What’s wrong with me? I haven’t hated any of the movies. I’ve found every guest of the festival to be remarkably warm and charming. I haven’t fallen asleep once in a film despite the fact I keep going to bed late and getting up early. Where’s the controversy? Where’s the disagreement? Where are the tirades? I’m getting soft in my old age. And maybe I’ve mingled too much with the guests this year. It primes me too much to like their movies. Oh well. I was thinking that it might finally come with You and Me and Everyone We Know since the title was so similar to last year’s The People I Know, a film I didn’t care for at all. No such luck. It was one of my favorites of the festival. Judging by the audience reaction, it seemed that it might be the favorite of a lot of the people here. Another first time filmmaker has demonstrated a confident ability to realize a very specific vision. Quirky, funny, and bold, but entirely realistic, there’s a kinship here with Todd Solondz but without the cynicism and pessimism. The film was written and directed by Miranda July who also stars in the film. She’s a performance artist and one can certainly sense that in the film. Not only is her character a performance artist, but there’s a kind of mixed-media quality to the relationships between the characters and the world they live in. Her character writes an obscenity on her windshield and drives around staring at it as she expresses her frustration with unrequited love. Another has virtual sex with two girls by writing dirty suggestions on a piece of paper and taping it to his front window. Each person has a crafty way of communicating with others or expressing themselves. For the first few minutes I anticipated that this film might be of that desperately independent quality. Yes, there is an “independent film genre” I contend. It requires a calculated quirkiness, some kind of deviant sexuality, and a minimalist soundtrack with poorly recorded acoustic guitar. Although You and Me and the People We Know does have quirkiness, a little bit of deviant sexuality, and a minimalist soundtrack (no acoustic guitar), it seems entirely to be a genuine extension of Miranda July’s personality. It’s an honest film. It also has some great performances especially by the kids in the movie. I think many of us have noticed by this a point a motif. There’s been a number of films with strong performances by children – You and Me and Everyone We Know, Map of the Human Heart, The Secret of Roan Inish, Baadasssss!

Blog Archive