Must-Sees - Conversations with Masters: Miranda July
On Monday 23th, the first meeting of the Masterclasses took place and included the stellar presence of multidisciplinary artist Miranda July, who for more than an hour spoke with programmer Pablo Conde and reviewed the different stages of her work, her tastes and obsessions, comfortably connected from her own kitchen, with strikingly large glasses that made her eyes stand out and a sweatshirt with the inscription “Disneyland” on it –something very far from her work– in a talk in which she gave us a number of scoops.
Miranda July became known as an artist with a special sensitivity, a characteristic that she knew how to communicate in her short films and in her three feature films as a director, and also in her books –such as her recent novel debut, The First Bad Man, a publishing success in our country–.
Among other activities, Miranda is a very active user of Instagram, a platform that she uses to carry out different projects and ideas that she developed recently. On the intensive use of this platform, she said: “I don’t feel like an instagrammer. I’m just an addict, and I get distracted, like everyone else. I’m curious about how people live today, and how technology fits into people’s lives. Wondering how I can use –or misuse– that technology is part of the challenge of being human in these times”.
But the work of every artist has a beginning, a starting point. And not many know that, in the past, Miranda July dedicated a good part of her time to work in the field of music. Regarding that, she left us a scoop: “I wanted to be a film director but all the cool girls were in bands. So for a while I thought I had to have a band no matter what. So with my girlfriend at the time and another friend we formed a group called The Need, in which I ‘sang’. But every two or three songs we did kind of a performance ... Then my girlfriend left me and I was reborn as Miranda July. From there I began to delve into performance and, above all, sound design, which I am passionate about”. The scoop?All this material, which is practically unknown, will be released on vinyl, imminently.
Throughout the talk, July answered some questions from the attendees. One of which was about her working method, specifically about the place she dedicates to improvisation: “It’s something difficult to explain, because I love improvisation –in fact, I think that when someone starts to write something new, they’re improvising–, but at the same time I am very attached to words. The actors know that, if they change a phrase, I can say ‘that’s good, very good, but the phrase is another.’ There is something rhythmic in the words that you choose and that you want to respect”.
There were also surprises when it came to reviewing the names that inspired her to make movies, and also investigating her film tastes: “I watched Sex, Lies and Videotape so many times that I know it by heart, for example. On the other hand, Agnès Varda is a mysterious and very personal artist and a great influence for me, especially for my first feature film. Then there are some ‘bad’ movies that fascinate me, like Somewhere in Time, with Christopher Reeve, about time travel –a subject that I really like–. I have always hoped that someone comes up with a way to travel back in time. It should be a priority, after a vaccine for Covid!”. Finally, she spoke about a last project, the book Miranda July, recently published in the United States: “It gathers all my work until this year. Initially I had to write about each of the works, but it seemed a bit embarrassing to me. It’s difficult for me to think about myself, so I decided to invite all my friends and collaborators to tell anecdotes of the process of each era. The collaborators go from a friend with whom I made my first fanzine to Evan Rachel Wood, who worked with me on Kajillionaire, my last film”.
In this link, you can enjoy the Conversation with Miranda July. Embedded below, the same video with Spanish translation.