Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten

Joe Strummer’s life was important to many
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Joe Strummer’s life, culturally, was an important one, not just to music, but also to humanity itself.

Temple’s film concentrates on Strummer personally, and the varying ‘chapters’ of his life, for the director’s desire was to capture a human being who was undeniably considered a living legend; for his beliefs, defiance, cheekiness and talents, The Future… has certainly captured all of this, and much more.

Spun from a narrative made up of short interviews by those closest to Joe, rare footage, and Joe’s radio shows on the BBC World Service, Temple builds an honest picture of the life of an icon, that holds you from the start, focusing on more than just a much loved punk band. Set around a campfire (Joe’s flagship symbol of Strummerville), various people from Strummer’s life discuss the highs and lows. In the words of Strummer: “If you ain’t gonna give it your all, then forget about it…”

Temple’s abilities that he showed on the definitive Sex Pistols film, The Filth And The Fury, are here on display once more. Subject matter includes the childhood friends, the members of The Mescaleros, stealing his friend’s girlfriends and rare live footage of squat gigs held at 101 Walterton Road.

Strummer’s life lacked boundaries and was full of contradictions; he was known for his love of world music and his eclecticism, which saw him go full circle from hippy to punk then back to hippy in the latter years of his life.

Temple’s interesting film was made from memories and experiences that Strummer and himself held, and he is still regarded as a pioneer of music based cinema; not only because of the great editing techniques and amazing footage but because not a word is spoken, not a question asked and no voiceover narrates for us. The film literally speaks for itself; everything you ever wanted to know about Strummer is here, and it speaks in volumes.

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