Reviews & essays
Who is it for? Anyone who’s ever lived, who was once or is a child, who’s had memories, and anyone who grew up in this sorry nation during the 1970s (these groupings are sometimes exclusive). It’s
porous enough for you to fit into it your own version of the matters discussed. That’s the point. And who hasn’t made a drink out of all the liquor in the cupboard?
Five minutes into Sound For the Future the director Matt Hulse describes going to the local library (secular churches) to begin “writing and planning and scheduling” in order to release himself from a “simmering rage against a culture that places the written word above all”. Writing this review of a post-punk memoir movie, I feel his pain.
An incredibly ambitious, and community minded film, Sound for the Future explores how impossible it is to separate personal, political, and national histories, and how difficult that can be to reckon with.
The film uses archive footage, music of the period and re-imaginings of key moments to tell the story of the band, with Elise cast as the drummer in a rival young group called Generation Riot. And she admitted the filming experience was different to what she had been expecting. “He let our imaginations run wild with what we did, and me and the rest of the band could come up with ideas. That was really good, I’d like to do more improv in the future.”
The approach is fun, merging pop art visuals that layer image cut-outs of Thatcher’s Britain, family albums and other pictures with historical footage from the era, much of which is incredibly random including concrete road bridges, catalogue pictures and shots of pink Angel Delight being mixed and poured down a toilet. Some of these images act as animated music videos for the songs including mad frothing dogs and the exploding head of JFK.
Director Q&A with Art Uncovered podcast
It’s relentless and jarring, but slowly, out of the ramshackle chaos – tap dancing one minute, snogging Malcolm McClaren’s grave bust the next – a deeply personal narrative starts to coalesce.
What emerges is a family portrait disguised as a mockumentary, a spoof approach that drains away pretension or notions of self-indulgence. Instead, we have a slight but honest account of the bitter-sweet growing up process, sound-tracked to gritty lo-fi sounds and the echo of children’s laughter.