Winning is many things, but it is never the thing you thought it would be.
I wanted to make the movie feel like lifefeels to me — and life feels both sad and dark and confusing and more than hopeful — it feels like something totally incredible could happen at any moment and with no explanation.
I think there’s something spiritual in a very day-to-day, mundane existence.
Now began the part of her life where she was just very beautiful. Except for nothing. Only winners will know what this feels like. Have you ever wanted something very badly and then gotten it. Then you know that winning is many things, but it is never the thing you thought it would be.
They wordlessly excused each other for not loving each other as much as they had planned. There were empty rooms in the house where they had meant to put their love and they worked together to fill these rooms with high-end, consumer-grade equipment. It was a tight situation. The next sudden move would have to be through the wall.
"Birthmark" in Paris Review (Spring 2003)
It was a tiny sound but it woke me up because it was a human sound.
That is my problem with life, I just rush through it, like I'm being chased. Even things whose whole point is slowness, like drinking relaxing tea. When I drink relaxing tea I suck it down like I'm in a contest for who can drink relaxing tea the quickest.
"The Man on the Stairs" in Fence (Spring/Summer 2004)
I wanted to make the movie feel like life feels to me — and life feels both sad and dark and confusing and more than hopeful — it feels like something totally incredible could happen at any moment and with no explanation.
I think there’s something spiritual in a very day-to-day, mundane existence. It’s impossible to articulate, and it’s happening now, almost like a perverse secret. . . . That’s always sort of fascinating to me.
I pretended that I was pausing before telling him about the secret feeling of joy that I hide in my chest, waiting, waiting, waiting for someone to notice that I rise each morning seemingly with nothing to live for, but I do rise, and it is only because of this secret joy, God's love, in my chest. I looked down from the sky and into his eyes and I said, It wasn't your fault. I excused him for the cover and for everything else. For not yet being a New Man. We fell into silence then; he did not ask me any more questions. I was still happy to sit there beside him, but that is only because I have very, very low expectations of most people, and he had now become Most People.
I pressed my lips against his ear and whispered, again, It's not your fault. Perhaps this was really the only thing I had ever wanted to say to anyone, and be told. I imagined couples at the altar, standing before the priest, declaring It's not your fault to each other, before kissing in the union.
Common sense and the truth should feel authorless, writ by time itself. It is actually really hard to write something that will make a terminally ill person feel better. And Positive has rules, you can't just lift your guidance from the Bible or a book about Zen; they want original material. So far none of my submissions have gotten in, but I'm getting closer.
Do you have doubts about life? Are you unsure if it is really worth the trouble? Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person's face as you pass them on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street, and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing. Stand up and face the east. Now praise the sky and praise the light within each person under the sky. It's okay to be unsure. But praise, praise, praise.
Since I started making art, I’ve always had some kind of project that was really about and for other people, because I think I just need that balance to feel sane myself — you know?
I guess my favorite thing in the world is when I look at a piece of art, or read a story, or watch a movie where I walk away feeling like "Oh my god — I have to do something, I have to make something or talk to someone — things are not the same anymore" — and so I try to make work where you come away with that feeling. It's like, yeah, you're thinking about what you just saw, but even more than that — you feel able, you feel like, kind of propelled.
No one's keeping track — no one's making of an archive of these "unimportant" things, you know… but now we have an archive … and in a way, the second there's many, it becomes proof of something, something that's so unspecific — that it's — that it's lively — to me that's really alive — that kind of half nauseous, half beautiful feeling.
What I like best is the kind of complicated messed up truth, you know … the one that's so imperfect that you know it's true.
Unlike certain directors who fixate on marginalia, creating art in which the engraving on a character’s belt buckle takes precedence over the story, July’s seemingly superficial gestures service something greater: a pulsing emotional center. It’s odd that she has come to represent, for some, a kind of soulless hipster cool, because in July’s work, nobody is cool. There’s no irony to it, no insider wink. Her characters are ordinary people whose lives don’t normally invite investigation. So her project is the opposite of hipster exclusion: her work is desperate to bring people together, forcing them into a kind of fellow feeling. She’s unrelentingly sincere, and maybe that sincerity makes her difficult to bear. It also might make her culturally essential.
The Future is really good, a film that’s not only tighter than the free-ranging Me and You but also more mature and tonally darker. (It’s literally darker, too: July shot it in a pastel-free palette of beiges and browns.) It may not convert all her critics, and it might shock some of her fans. But “The Future” should definitively dispel the lingering notion that her art is some gossamer, transient confection. The film is devoted to the only truths worth engaging, about love, sex and death, all questions unasked in the neutered, cutesy world of, say, Napoleon Dynamite and the like. “I do believe my work should be of service,” she told me. The Future is not just a rebuke to the idea that her work is somehow shallow; it actively attacks the idea of shallowness. July wants you to feel a part of something larger than yourself and, in The Future, you do.
Katrina Onstad, in "Miranda July Is Totally Not Kidding, in The New York Times (14 July 2011)
A recent profile in The New York Times Magazine depicted Ms. July — a quiet figure on the screen and a thoughtful, witty presence on the page — as an improbably polarizing filmmaker, as likely to be scorned for her supposed preciosity as celebrated for her ingenuity. And the first part of The Future seems, quite deliberately, to test the spectrum of audience response. Are you curious? Enchanted? Frustrated? All of the above?
The magical, metaphorical strain in The Future is what makes it powerful, unsettling and strange, as well as charming. The everyday fears and frustrations that shadow us on our awkward trip through the life cycle often feel enormous, even cosmic, and Ms. July has the audacity to find images and situations that give form to those metaphysical inklings. … The complexity of “The Future” is contained in its title, which refers simultaneously to a terrifying abstraction — an unknowable territory bounded by death, eternity, the end of time — and to a concrete, trivial fact. What are you going to do next? It’s a huge, scary question, but the answer is usually to be small and specific. Use your imagination. Go see this movie.
A. O. Scott, in "Is That All There Is? Milking Life for More" in The New York Times (July 28, 2011)