The Hippies … Sound for the Future. Photograph: Michele Dillon
There isn’t a specific target demographic for this jumbled documentary about the brief musical voyage of three brothers
This movie is for who? Throughout the shabby documentary by artist and filmmaker Matt Hulse, I found myself wondering that question. With his elder brother Toby, then 12, and sister Polly, then 8, Hulse started a band named the Hippies when he was 11 years old in the late 1970s. He performed on cardboard boxes with chopsticks instead of drums. The Hippies are referred to be the youngest post-punk band in Britain in the movie’s advertising materials. However, there is no proof that they performed in venues larger than their mother’s living room, unlike other children throughout the nation. However, some of their songs, like Rabies (“Rabies is a killer!”), do have a lot of gritty appeal.
The movie Sound for the Future is a true mash-up, with animated segments, tap dance by Hulse, and spoken word performances. As the Hulse brothers, he collaborates with a group of young performers from a Glasgow theater workshop to recreate episodes from his youth.
In certain spots, it hurts to see Hulse release the unprocessed hurt from his early life. The narrative that takes shape is that the Hulse siblings split their time between two homes after their parents’ divorce. They spent school breaks with mom Ruth, who lived a bohemian lifestyle in Cambridge with a homosexual lodger (in the 1970s!) and copies of Spare Rib on the coffee table, and term time with their dad and his new wife. Hulse still looks upset with his brother Toby for disbanding the Hippies, even though Toby is conspicuously absent from this scene.
When Hulse performs with his childhood teddy bear on stage at a bar on his 50th birthday, he immerses us in his raw emotion and admits that he has battled despair and addiction. Is this movie used for therapy? Maybe in a mean way, I did question sometimes what was in it for the rest of us.
On October 28, Sound for the Future will open in theaters.