Monday, August 8, 2011

I'd Love To Turn You At The Movies #19 - Me And You And Everyone We Know (2005, dir. Miranda July)

For a few years (at least the 16 I’ve spent dabbling in various film-stuffs) I’ve adopted the moniker of Constant Watcher for the obvious reasons of constantly watching movies and other visual art. Not so obviously I took to that name as I spend a lot of time constantly watching people and how they interact in these various spaces that we all tightly share. I’m that guy that’s content holding up a wall at a party as long as I can observe the comings and goings of the various people and imagine why they are who they are and pick up on the subtle details that comprise a picture of their life, which I will probably never get the chance to know for myself.  It is the capturing of those valuable details that also defines what makes performance artist, writer and director Miranda so special and what gives her debut feature film Me And You And Everyone We Know such an original and charming aura and proves it a delicious choice for your own collection.
Quietly introducing us to literally me, you and everyone we know the film is about a slice of random souls living in Los Angeles and filling in the gaps in their lives with the unexpected interactions they all have with each other. July herself stars as Christine, a timid and weird performance artist who catches the eye of Richard (Deadwood’s John Hawkes), an exasperated father of two who is in the middle of a separation that he seems to have not seen coming. His kids, Peter and Robby, spend all day either at school or online experimenting in chat rooms or creating large detailed pictures out of keyboard symbols.  It is through these four characters that we meet “everyone else” in July’s picture of life. Like dominoes touching and knocking down each other, each person has four or five other people they know who cleverly and perfectly complete the circle. Each person has their own foibles and problems and needs to connect with someone and it is through their various small actions that the film really comes to life and allows July’s genius and observation of people to shine through. 
Christine’s pursuit of Richard comes from his selling her a pair of shoes because she deserves to be comfortable, a foreign idea that seems to send her into an uncomfortable danger zone of trying to make a love connection. Richard, still licking his separation wounds only wants to connect with his sons who seem more interested in making random and weird connections with strangers in internet chat rooms (how young Robby connects with a stranger over his own simple idea of intimate connection is truly one of the best and most touching scenes captured on film, PERIOD) than they do with their dad. Meanwhile, the oldest son bounces between two female peers exploring their burgeoning sexual power and a young girl who collects household items in an effort to furnish the home of her still far away adult life.
At first glance this menagerie appears to be of the “bizarre” variety until they start speaking July’s dialogue and you realize that their odd concerns, observations and feelings of isolation are what we are all whispering under our breaths in these modern times.  July finds the loose threads hanging off of all her characters and tugs at them gently to show us that sometimes it’s only a chance interaction at a department store or bus stop that leaves an impression that lasts a lifetime.
Part of the joy of watching Me And You And Everyone We Know is in picking up the little details that July scatters throughout the film. To go into actual detail about any of them would take away from the riches of this contemporary masterpiece so I invite you to watch the film and try not to interact but simply watch and allow yourself to imagine the continued adventures of the group of people you’re about to meet. Your time with them will be short but I truly believe that you’ll make a connection that will last a lifetime.
This debut from July also serves as a great primer for her second film coming out this summer entitled The Future. Let this film acquaint you with July’s voice and vision and check out her new work with an equally open mind, you’ll be so glad you did.
- Keith Garcia – Programming Manager – Denver Film Society/Denver FilmCenter

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