LFF 2020: Sound For The Future – Review

Release Date – TBC, Cert – N/A, Run-time – 1 hour 42 minutes, Director – Matt Hulse

Director Matt Hulse recreates his siblings’ punk band, The Hippies, from when he was eleven.

Documentarian and short-maker Matt Hulse’s Sound For The Future could easily come across as some sort of breakdown or vanity project, as he meticulously tries to recreate a punk band he and his siblings were a part of in the late-70’s and early-80’s. However, there’s something about the delightfully odd nature of things that gives the film a personal nature for its creator, although not quite a completely nostalgic one. “It’s absurdity and I love absurdity, things that shouldn’t go together” he says as he experiments with ways of recreating his childhood band. He casts various trios to play the younger versions of “Britain’s youngest punk band” – Hulse was eleven when the band was first formed, his sister, Polly, eight and older brother, Toby, twelve – in radio interviews, pictures and more.

The film feels like a making of piece, a feature length behind the scenes look with a personal twist for the director. This personal twist is what gives the film its flair and helps to keep it going over the course of its run-time. It keeps your interest as new ideas and brought in and to a fair degree the highly creative mind of Hulse is explore. There’s an air of wry and occasionally bizarre humour that comes through and helps to keep things light and entertaining in this kind of two piece documentary – one looking at Hulse’s recreation, the other at the band known as The Hippies; both showing the effects of collaborative efforts.

Both elements go hand in hand and merge together well. Both are spawned and progressed further by the other and yet never feel as if two completely different points are being made, or shown. The film simply travels along its course and keeps the viewer engaged and entertained for most of the run-time, as just how personal this – as some might refer to it as – experiment is for Hulse. As the band develops, releasing and promoting new songs, there’s a hint of drama and emotion seemingly coming from the filmmakers part, finding its way into the background of some scenes and ideas. More elements of his personality shine through and he makes for an interesting subject in himself, although certainly doesn’t make himself the star of the film – once again placing this far from a vanity project.

Throughout the film and its handful of related subjects – all going together because of how closely related they are and the way that the documentary works – there’s plenty of entertainment to be found. Not just through Hulse, but through the general energy of the band and the imagination and creativity that goes into making it, despite more than one trio being formed there appears to be one main group we follow and much of this seems to go alongside them. The kids seem to be enjoying themselves being a part of this and so do a number of the people involved, it’s rather infectious and has you as the viewer put into a similar frame of inspiration that situates you in a good place to follow along the film and get caught up with the various points that are made and unfold as plans, plans of snapshots of memories in Hulse’s mind. It’s an interesting concept and it’s pulled off well thanks to the fact that the film doesn’t take itself too seriously, and with its occasionally absurd style and humour it’s hard not to like the personal tales that this film unfolds, and the band at the centre of it.

Hulse is an interesting figure, and so is the band that he recreates over the course of the film. At times delightfully odd at others a compelling look into the mind of its creator, Sound For The Future is a brilliantly creative personal experiment that sparks imagination.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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