Sunday, January 2, 2011

Me and You and Everyone We Know

Miranda July, 2006 (8.7*)
Special Jury Prize, Sundance
Visual artist Miranda July made this film to publicize her museum quality artwork. In her story, an artist, played by herself, is working on a show in a local museum. This circular storyline rarely works, but it certainly works here, thanks to her honest artistry.

Along the way we get treated to a budding romance she has with a shoe salesman, wonderfully played by John Hawkes [note: now a best supporting actor nominee for 2010's Winter's Bone], and a hilarious internet romance struck up using chat by the museum's female director. This leads to one of the funniest scenes in recent films when a meeting takes place at a park bench.

This film epitomized the term small indie film. As such, it is an important statement by a female artist and budding film director. Miranda wrote, directed, and stars in this film which essentially makes it a one person work of art, and one which is about the artist herself. Usually this sort of exercise reeks of self-promotional egoism, yet somehow Miranda's self-deprecating and realistic viewpoint make this film an intimate and revealing look at how the creative process can give us a glimpse into the soul of the artist.

For me it is for more interesting than the facile laziness I feel when watching some of the films by John Cassavetes or even lesser Woody Allen vehicles. I hope she continues with her film career and perhaps turns the camera on external subjects next time, for she's a very talented filmmaker, and unlike any other.

This film won FOUR awards at Cannes: Critics Week Grand Prize, Un Certain Regard, Golden Camera, and the Young Critics Award. At Sundance, it won the Special Jury Prize for 'originality and vision'. Overall it won 18 awards out of 26 nominations, with 16 awards going to Miranda, most for director or film, but a couple for screenplay and ensemble cast.


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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