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SUNDANCE: Paw Paw the Cat Narrates Miranda July's 'Future'

There's no question which Sundance film has the most unique narrator.

The honor goes to writer/director Miranda July's The Future, which is narrated by Paw Paw, a shelter cat. That's right, a talking feline puppet.

Like the rest of the film, which is the quirky, yet somber tale of a 30-something couple grappling with their personal and professional malaise, the cat will likely have a polarizing effect on audiences.

July, writer/director of 2005's Me and You and Everyone We Know, said at a Q&A following The Future's Friday night premiere that the idea for Paw Paw came from a writing exercise of sorts on penning something from an "inhuman" perspective.

Paw Paw, who narrates the film in a scratchy, childlike voice, presides over a story that tracks the 30 days before boyfriend-and-girlfriend Jason and Sophie, adopt the wounded feline. Jason (played by Hamish Linklater) and Sophie (July) turn off their Internet connection and try to make the most of the month, but things don't progress as either character expected.

"Sadness is kind of interesting," July said at the Q&A, when asked what viewers' takeaway from The Future should be.

The film, which is screening in Sundance's Premieres section, is an idiosyncratic affair -- the moon talks and time stands still in one segment. Set in Los Angeles, The Future offers takes on suburban decay, digital dependency and loss. Multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion, an institution in L.A.'s indie music scene, scored the film to pleasant and appropriate effect.

One imagines The Future finding a home with a distributor on the small side -- perhaps IFC Films, which picked up Me and You, or Oscilloscope. It'll take one that will understand how to exploit the film's hipster vibe and eccentric appeal.


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