The History Of Future Folk


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

The History Of Future Folk
"This film will reward those who give it the chance with rare delight."

Every now and then a film comes along that one almost dreads seeing because if it goes wrong it will be excruciatingly bad but if it gets it right - slender as the chance of that is - it will become a lifelong favourite. Fortunately, The History Of Future Folk is one of the latter. Whilst it requires a bigger than average leap of faith, you'll have to keep your disbelief suspended with iron chains and it sill won't be everybody's cup of tea, this film will reward those who give it the chance with rare delight.

Back home on Hondo they know him as General Trius. On Earth he is known as Bill. Travelling on a mission of destruction, Bill (Nils d'Aulaire), like a low-rent version of The Man Who Fell To Earth, has been seduced by music - initially supermarket muzak - and developed such a love for this hitherto unknown art that he has not only put the flesh-eating virus on hold, he's also started playing bluegrass, married an Earth woman, had a little girl and moved into a nice suburban home. Just one problem remains - he knows they will send someone after him. When awkward assassin Kevin (Jay Klaitz) arrives, the stage is set for a showdown. Needless to say, things don't go the way the Hondonians planned - but this is just the first of several schemes that could place Bill, and Earth itself, in jeopardy.

Copy picture

With a plot like this, one might reasonably expect clumsily handled farce, crude humour and leaden acting. What we get is something quite different. Yes, the props may be pretty rough ("We don't have buckets on Hondo so we didn't realise," says Bill, apologising for his helmet) but they're mere details - what matters here are story and character. Everything is played with such sincerity that the bizarre becomes believable. It's directed with a lightness of touch that will have the likes of Kevin Smith and Edgar Wright gazing in envy. Above all, it's sweet - a story whose central message is so heartfelt and optimistic that it invites the audience to treat it with the same affection, to come on board for a journey that cannot help but be uplifting.

Sweet and sincere doesn't mean po-faced. There is defly handled farce in scenes where Kevin struggles to understand Earth society, especially women. His inappropriate behaviour has more power to shock because it seems to stem from a genuine lack of awareness. There are also some sinister moments as a deadlier assassin moves in. And there's the music, whose simplicity reflects an understanding that less is more - a real saving grace in a story like this. Bill has been talking about Hondo to his daughter in the guise of bedtime stories and the film has someting of that character. it's funny, it's playful, it's the purest form of fantasy.

Already a festival favourite, The History Of Future Folk deserves widespread release. If it doesn't get it, the odds are that it will still become an underground hit, being passed around between science fiction fans and developing a cult following. That said, you really don't need to be into science fiction to enjoy it, and it's fun for all ages. If you like this film even a little bit, you'll love it for the rest of your life.

Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2013
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The History Of Future Folk packshot
An alien fails in his mission to wipe out humanity when he discovers music and starts a bluegrass band.

Director: John Mitchell, Jeremy Kipp Walker

Writer: John Mitchell

Starring: Nils d'Aulaire, Jay Klaitz, Julie Ann Emery

Year: 2013

Runtime: 86 minutes

Country: US


Glasgow 2013

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Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure