Playing with Matches in the Wheat Field of Our Love

I recently watched Me and You and Everyone We Know, a film I first heard about via Roger Ebert’s new show with that other guy. They gave it a favorable review, and I’m about to do the same.

This is one of those films that shouldn’t be as good as it is. It has no point. It has no real plot to speak of, and very little happens.

I’m speaking now to the people behind The Da Vinci Code: good films are about characters, not events.

Me and You and Everyone We Know concerns the orbital relationships of a series of unrelated individuals living in the same city. Christine Jesperson is a quirky little video artist and cab driver to the elderly. She becomes obsessed with shoe salesman Richard Swersey and begins to mildly stalk him. The tangential people in their lives—customers, neighbors, children, ex-spouses—spin the story outward from the central relationship in oddly unnerving ways. Probably creepiest are the two teenage girls whose performances are so nastily dead-on they seem to be not acting at all.

The film stars Miranda July (who also wrote and directed) and features some really interesting cinematography and work with sound. In no other film this year will you see:

> a man set his own hand on fire in order to change his life
> a romantic flirtation roleplayed by a pair of shoes labeled “ME” and “YOU”
> a painting of a bird hung on a tree branch
> a description of “back and forth,” which you have to see in the film to TRULY appreciate (and, too, this may be the film’s most important moment)
> a 40-year-old woman kiss her 5-year-old internet lover on the lips

July’s work resists narrative but in doing so assembles a fractured form of storytelling that is both lyric and compelling. Is she kinemapoetics? I’d say so. I dare say she is.

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