By Sherrie Li
By Falling James
By Amanda Lewis
By Amy Nicholson
By Amy Nicholson
By Jennifer Swann
By Scott Foundas
By Sherrie Li
Another, Lace Shape, resembles a wedding veil that July copied out of a book given to her by her friends Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, who designed the dress and veil in which July was married. The bride-to-be, fighting a flu at the time, painstakingly hand-painted the piece on the eve of her wedding.
July met Mills at Sundance in 2005. She was there supporting Me and You; he was there with his first film, Thumbsucker. "RES magazine had a party that we were both, like, honored at, or whatever," July remembers. "And we both knew a little bit about each other. I remember walking up to him and going, 'Hi, I'm Miranda July,' which I never do."
In her director's statement for The Future, July describes talking cat Paw Paw as a device through which she could "describe the bittersweet vertigo of true love. Which is the thing that got me thinking about mortality in the first place."
When she met Mills, she was for the first time confronted with the notion of being with someone "for the rest of our lives," and the terrifying reality of what that meant.
"I remember saying to him one day, 'We're doing all these [creative] things, but in the end, we're going to end up having been the main experience of each other's lives.' And feeling for the first time that that was true. I wasn't saying that romantically — it was kind of, like, sobering. Like, try as I might there's going to be no single experience that's as big as that one. That's daily, and for so long.
"I think for a little while, I thought I was at the end of my life because of that," July admits. "And then, that the only thing that was proof that that wasn't true was that we hadn't had kids yet. You know? And that was apparently going to be a whole chapter. But we weren't trying to have kids, we were actually trying to make these movies."
Beginners and The Future, the couple's nearly simultaneously birthed "children," are, unavoidably, companion pieces — and not just because both have talking animals.
On the most basic level, they're both about the passing of time, the realization that the clock is always running out and life is happening right now. More specifically, they're both about a similar type of arrested development and contemporary, late-30-something fear of commitment, with a key difference. Where Mills contrasts his young lovers and their inward-gazing anxiety with a previous generation whose relationships were constricted by external forces, July creates a fantasy world in which the narcissism of her characters burns through the barrier between their inner lives and the external world in ways that actually alter space and time.
It doesn't seem like much of a stretch to say that both of these directly, unabashedly sentimental films are about the July/Mills marriage. When I interviewed Mills about Beginners, he was open about many autobiographic elements but downplayed the notion that the relationship between Ewan McGregor and Melanie Laurent's characters portrayed his own marriage. "The love part is much more normal fiction," he said in May. "It's not me and my wife, Miranda, it's not anything that I've actually done, really."
July tells a slightly different story.
"I remember reading Beginners a few times before I was really in my own [screenwriting phase], and then being, like, 'Oh, whoa, I don't think I should keep reading this because I gotta be in my own world.' And we both kind of agreed on that, that, like, to pull this off, we'd have to be more private."
When I say it seems that nonetheless there are some similarities between the two films, July nods. "Yeah, for sure. I mean, I'm amazed there's not more. I hadn't read [his] script in years when we were both kind of 'go,' you know? And I remember, because we have the same agent, I emailed my agent, saying, 'You know what, you're the only one who's read both our scripts. Can you tell me right now if there's anything that's going to be really bad that we both did?' And there was actually one scene — his stayed in, and mine I cut out after I shot it — that I thought was a little, like, similar, and revealing about us, because it was like something from our life. I won't say what it is."
But she maintains that it's not the relationship that colors the work so much as that their individual interests, aesthetics and instincts led to the relationship. "Occasionally we get into, like, 'Well, where did this come from, this thing?' We both have evidence from before we met that we were into that thing. And that's why we came together. That's why we like each other."
When "Eleven Heavy Things" opens to the public on a Saturday evening in late July, Mills, wearing a beard and a Western hat like the Jesse James of Silver Lake, laughs with friends as his wife runs around, gamely posing with her pieces for rabid fans with cameras, most of them youngish women. She seems bubbly and hyper "on." It is the only art opening I've ever been to where there's no booze. Instead, there's an ice cream truck.
This is much better: http://www.mrdestructo.com/201...
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