The uncertainty with which some people view the future varies from one individual to the next. Some individuals look at the calendar ahead and see nothing but opportunities for good stuff, for them to take huge steps forward. Others do so and are filled with trepidation. Today was bad enough and yesterday was terrible so they’re not really excited about what might be down the road. In extreme situations this kind of outlook can actually cause a person to almost freeze up and not make any decisions about what to do because they can’t conceive of tomorrow being anything but negative.
In other cases people are just so filled with themselves in the moment that they can’t fathom moving beyond each particular instant. Such are the characters in The Future. As they contemplate adopting a cat from a shelter Sophie (Miranda July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater) are forced to ponder what lies beyond today because the cat represents responsibility and having to make decisions outside themselves, a prospect that’s never really occurred to them before.
The poster for the film is quirky and simple, much like the movie itself will likely be. It’s just an image of July’s head turned upside down with the title super-imposed over it. There’s the credit block, a choice quote from an early review and the enticement that it comes from the director of Me and You and Everyone We Know but that’s about it.
We start off in the trailer with some voiceover from a cat that talks about some people who said they would come back for it. We then cut to them arriving at the shelter, ready to adopt it under the assumption that it’s only going to live a few months, but they’re told that the cat could live another five years. This sets both Sophie and Jason on a spiral of identity issues since neither of them apparently considered the future at all and so they evaluate their lives. That includes Sophie starting her much-delayed performance art project. We occasionally cut back to the cat but mostly this is about the issues being confronted and decisions being made by the two humans, with that one month cat pickup deadline presumably the endpoint of this journey.
It’s odd, a tad indulgent and very unique, meaning it should appeal almost immediately to fans of July’s earlier movie and those who appreciate off-kilter characters in their movies in general.
The movie’s official website opens with some sort of ambient noise playing as critic’s quotes appear over footage of the cat in her shelter cage.
The “Your Future” section is a spinning wheel where you can get a fortune told once every other week or so, which is kind of a cool detail. After that there’s a “Blog” written by July that is all sorts of pretentious, with lots of pseudo-philosophy, artsy photos and more.
“Trailer” is fairly self-explanatory, as is the “Gallery,” which has five photos from the film as well as the poster. “Story” has a very short write-up of the movie’s plot and “Cast” has short write-ups of the actors in the film.
You can find out if the movie is playing near you in the “Showtimes” section and then read some early coverage and reviews of it in the “News” area.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing here that I’ve come across.
Media and Publicity
The movie first got some publicity when it was announced as a late addition to the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. There July was interviewed (Filmmaker Magazine, 1/23/11) and otherwise beat the drums for the movie, which was her second at the festival in recent years. The movie was one of a few pegged as being part of a recent wave of films (Filmmaker, 1/23/11) about aimless 20-somethings having identity crises. And it was only shortly after Sundance wound-down that the title was picked up for distribution (Hollywood Reporter, 1/28/11) by Roadside Attractions. It would also later appear at the Los Angeles Film Festival (Los Angeles Times, 5/3/11).
The launch of the movie’s official website was reviewed by IndieWire, who talked to July about what her intentions for the site was and what her overall comfort (or discomfort) level with actual “marketing” was.
Later on there was press that examined the movie-going public’s perceptions of July (New York Times, 7/14/11), perceptions that range from her being seen as a unique voice of this generations to being someone who’s so full of herself and her own sense of whimsy that she becomes so annoying there are entire blogs and sites devoted to mocking her.
It’s not a bad campaign and I even like some aspects of it. Others, though, are so full of themselves that it’s hard to feel any attachment to the movie at all and I kind of want to smack the movie’s smug face. That might seem like an extreme reaction – and that’s actually a good thing that I felt this strongly since that’s what art is supposed to produce in the audience. But it’s clear that this campaign isn’t trying to win any new converts and will instead likely just polarize people about July in general and The Future specifically. The campaign is clearly meant toward festival goers and the people who love them and will almost certainly have almost no appeal outside that crowd.
PICKING UP THE SPARE
- 08/03/11 – Wired has a great interview with July about the movie and its themes and story.