It is very seldom that I watch a film that I know that I will want to see again, and even rarer to see one that will watch again within a week (pretty much unheard of actually!)
The Future is Unwritten is one of those films. I had been really looking forward to watching it as I have been an unashamedly huge fan of The Clash for years, but thsi film far exceeded all my expectations.
Once you get used to the quirkiness of the filming it is riveting viewing. Temple has filmed a bunch of Strummer's friends and peershanging out around a campfire on what looks like the banks of the River Thames. They are listening to a recording of Strummer's radio show that he made for the BBC World Service. One of the most striking and original things about the film is that the narration is largely the voice of Strummer himself talking about his musical life. This is interspersed with anecdotes supplied by his friends and is run over video and photo footage of Strummer's life plus anamated drawings.
One of the great things about this film is that it covers the whole of Joe Strummer's life not just the period of time when he was in The Clash. I found it fascinating to learn about his childhood, his time as a hippy living in a London squat as well as what happened to him after The Clash disbanded. I am ashamed to say that I was such a huge Clash fan in my teens and twenties that I never really came to terms with their split and so didn't follow their subsequent musical careers. This was definitely my loss - The Mescaleros produced some brilliant music and I am just left wishing that I had given them a chance when Strummer was still alive.
I would highly recommend this brilliant/funny/sad film and would suggest that while you watch it you might want to keep a pen and notepad handy as Joe plays some excellent tracks on his radio show that you will undoubtedly want to hear again.
Johnny Appleseed - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
Coma Girl - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
Blitzreig Bop - The Ramones
1977 - The Clash
Corrina, Corrina - Bob Dylan
To Love Somebody - Nina Simone
This is Not a Lovesong - Public Image Limited