Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten Coming To DVD
The intimate biographical portrait of Clash frontman, vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and primal lyricist Joe Strummer (b. Aug. 21, 1952 – d. Dec. 22, 2002) underscores his passion for the music, and his instincts as a committed social and political activist. His body of work, alongside his partners in the Clash, led the band to be inscribed in rock history as "the only band that mattered" then – and the only band that really matters now.
Filmmaker Temple's 30-year association with John Graham Mellor aka Joe Strummer resounds throughout the course of the film, as the Clash City Rocker's life and times and influences unfold. THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN – with narration throughout by Strummer from his BBC radio show – is a major musical event in its own right, featuring some 65 songs heard in full or in part.
The film is also a gathering of dozens of friends, family members, band mates, and luminaries whose lives were affected by Strummer, among them (in order of appearance): Mick Jones, Steve Jones, Bono, Topper Headon, Pearl Harbour, Don Letts, Joe Ely, John Cusack, Johnny Depp, Flea, Matt Dillon, Martin Scorsese, Steve Buscemi, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Courtney Love, Anthony Kiedis, Jim Jarmusch, Lucinda Mellor (Joe's widow), and many others. Most of the interviews take place at the various bonfire sites whose development as meeting grounds is explored in the film.
The DVD version of the original two-hour THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN, which is presented in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound audio, is now augmented with an additional 100 minutes of bonfire interviews not seen in the film's original theatrical version. Entitled "Conversations With Joe," the bonus interviews include many of the aforementioned personalities. In addition to Strummer's narration, there is also a feature-length audio commentary by Temple that runs the duration of the film. The program is completed with the original theatrical trailer.
THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN is the culmination of a mission that began 30 years ago for award-winning director Temple, who began to film the Clash 30 years ago at the dawn of the punk rock movement in England. Temple set the project aside to work on the Sex Pistols, resulting in The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980), one of the definitive accounts of the era. In the late-'90s, after a two decade hiatus, Temple's friendship with Strummer was renewed at the Glastonbury festival and the seeds of this film were sown.
THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN had its premiere at the Sundance Festival in January 2007. That was followed by screenings at the Dublin Film Festival in February; and in London the following May, where it went on to win a British Independent Film Award for Best Documentary. Acclaim across the U.S. was unanimous, with many critics listing it among their Top 10 films of the year.
In May 2007, the soundtrack album, The Future Is Unwritten: Music From The Julien Temple Film, was issued on Legacy Recordings, comprising five spoken word interview tracks, and 20 music selections (a fraction of the titles heard in full or in part in the film). In addition to 1979's "Armagideon Time" single, three out of the album's four previously unreleased tracks feature the Clash. All three of the other great bands in Strummer's life are also represented: the pre-Clash 101'ers, the post-Clash Latino Rockabilly War, and his final band the Mescaleros.
Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan are among a dozen artists included on the soundtrack who impacted Strummer (or were influenced by him), among them Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, Tim Hardin, the MC5, Nina Simone, and the multi-ethnic array of Algerian worldbeat singer-composer DJ Rachid Taha, Latin composer Andres Landero, Jamaican ska guitarist Ernest Ranglin, and Jamaican reggae dub king and DJ U-Roy.