Miranda July has not announced another feature since she directed 2020’s “Kajillionaire.” But that should hardly be a surprise from the offbeat filmmaker whose previous movie, “The Future,” came out a decade prior. The Los Angeles-based artist fills in her time with visual and performance art as well as writing novels and short stories. Her novels tend to be about middle-aged women changing the course of their lives, as was the case with 2015’s sexually adventurous “The First Bad Man” and now next year’s “All Fours,” which July explains in the Art21 clip below is about “the second half of a woman’s life. And it’s also a romance.”

July shares an update on “All Fours” (Penguin Random House, May 14, 2024) in this excerpt from “Friends and Strangers,” the third and final episode of Season 11 of Art21’s “Art in the Twenty-First Century,” broadcasting on PBS October 20.

July also opens the door (just a crack) into her artistic process. The episode also features artists Linda Goode Bryant, Christine Sun Kim, and Cannupa Hanska Luger. Art21 recently screened the episode with artists in attendance at the Metrograph in Manhattan.

“I wanted to write a romance,” July told Vogue in a recent interview. “To try and capture that sort of drugged-out, longing feeling when someone’s completely under your skin. And that seemed to fit very well with this new vantage point that I didn’t have 10 years ago, when I wrote my last book. I started this book when I was 45. I’m 49 now, and it’s like, for the first half of your life, you feel like a young person — for quite a long time as a woman, you’re just young — and then very suddenly, that flips. And instead of looking forward to some kind of open-ended apex, you’re in that place in the middle, and when you look forward the same amount, you’re looking toward death. That’s a very different story, and I wanted to write about what that means sexually, in terms of intimacy. It’s a mapless, unknown, mysterious place.”

The official synopsis suggests, at first, an autobiographical novel, though July says that’s not exactly the case: “A semi-famous artist announces her plan to drive cross-country, from LA to NY. Thirty minutes after leaving her husband and child at home, she spontaneously exits the freeway, beds down in a nondescript motel, and immerses herself in a temporary reinvention that turns out to be the start of an entirely different journey.”

Leave a comment