US director Miranda July, on the pressures of making her second feature, being in competition in Berlin and talking cats.
Your first film, Me And You And Everyone We Know was heaped with critical acclaim. Did you feel a lot of pressure with the second one?
After the first movie, I really didn’t want to jump into writing another screenplay. I did feel a bit of pressure, because everyone tells you the second one is the hard one. But then after a while you just have to stop worrying about it and do it.
The Future is about a couple who are faced with the responsibility of looking after a terminally ill cat. Where did the idea come from?
I wrote a performance called Things We Don’t Understand And Definitely Are Not Going To Talk About, about
an affair, which had a talking cat in it and someone who stopped time, which I thought were just really interesting ideas. The script kind of evolved from that.
Did you go for a similar style of film-making the second time around?
It’s similar in that it has humour… and I’m in it. But actually, I’ve found that people who have read my book of short stories say this is more similar to that — because the book has some darker and more surreal elements to it. When I made Me And You, I think I held back because I said to myself, “You’re making a movie, you gotta get normal.” But I’ve always felt comfortable expressing myself through unreal elements.
Does your passion lie with writing or directing?
When it comes to making independent films, it’s so hard that you kind of have to approach each one like it could be the last one. I feel like if I had to do one, it would be writing.
How does your approach to script-writing differ from your approach to writing in other mediums?
With a script it doesn’t matter if it’s well written, as far as the words go — it’s about making a world exist on the page. When I’m writing a script, I always think how much easier it is to write stories. But then of course, when I’m writing a story, I think about how fun it is to be making films. I learn things from both.
How does it feel to have the film in competition in Berlin?
There was a lot of German support on this movie. I did most of my post in Berlin, so when I finished I thought it would be great to show it here. The audience reaction was great in Sundance, but I know it’s a different thing being in Berlin and you can never assume anything.