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Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten

Julien Temple


Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten
Directed by: Julien Temple
(Sony Legacy)
Julien Temple has already proven his punk-doc chops with The Filth and the Fury, focusing on the tempestuous relationship between The Sex Pistols and their Svengali manager Malcolm McLaren. Temple employs the same beautiful collaged style to document the life of his friend, Joe Strummer, The Clash's politically outspoken singer and guitarist, who died in 2002. Temple mixes a wealth of archive footage---he started shooting Strummer in 1976---alongside photos, audio, drawings and fireside interviews (a fitting tribute as Strummer used to organize campfire festivals) with friends, former Clash members and celebrity pals like Bono and Matt Dillon. Lit by glowing firelight, none of the speakers are identified, which gives the film an intimate but insider feel.Those looking for deep insight into Strummer's personal life will be disappointed as the most controversial elements are only flicked at: Strummer's struggles to define himself; the affect of his brother's suicide and his post-Clash isolation. Most disturbing is his broken promise to keep Clash drummer Topper Headon's heroin addiction a secret.But it's Strummer's own message that "we're all alive at the same time" that makes this an inspirational film for fans, old and new. We miss ya, Joe.
Sue Carter Flinn

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