aka The Los Angeles Film Festival and What Molly Saw There pt. 2
Unlike Dead Man’s Burden, which I saw with a definite idea of what I was going to see, when I walked into the theatre to see The History of Future Folk I had no idea what to expect. Based on the title, I had assumed it was going to be a documentary about some kind of early millennial music scene (it was in the “Beyond” category, so it could have literally been anything), but once the opening credits began with child-like drawings of crimson clad astronauts from another appeared, I knew I was wrong and that I was going to be in for a treat.
The History of Future Folk is nothing short of a delight. It tells the story of a humanoid alien named General Trius (Nils d’Aulaire) who comes from the Earth-like planet Hondo, who have been sent to earth to eradicate the human population so that the Hondonians may come and populate it, as their planet is pending destruction by a meteor. When he arrives to Earth, he is ready to set off his Doomsday device when suddenly he hears music for the first time! Enraptured by the sounds, he decides to assimilate with the earthlings and find a way to save his planet without having to kill off a species that created the beautiful gift of music.
Flash forward about 10 years. General Trias has settled in Brooklyn and now goes by the Earth name “Bill”. He is married with a daughter (Onata Aprile), and works as a at an aerospace museum that sits on top of a deactivated warhead, while moonlighting as a bluegrass musician at a bar owned and operated by Larry (Dee Snider), where he uses his backstory as an alien for his stage persona. Each night he tells the audience the story of his life, and no-one is the wiser that he is actually telling the truth. He is still trying to find a way to save his home planet, but his new life has taken the front seat. That is, until another alien from Honda, Kevin (Jay Klaitz) comes to assassinate him. Fortunately, Kevin is a terrible assassin, so Bill is able to subdue him easily enough and he opens his mind to music, and shortly thereafter Kevin learns to play guitar and the two become a bluegrass duo.
From there, the film comprises of a series of wild antics, getting in trouble with the law, which for Kevin leads to falling in love with a lady of the law, giving us a sweet, almost-tender-if-the-circumstances-weren’t-so-damn-creepy love ballad–in Spanish!–, and having to fight a serious alien assassin, while trying to save both Hondo and Earth from certain destruction. It’s a brilliant, fun mix, and with a running time of 86 minutes, every second counts.
The film is co-directed by John Mitchell and Jeremy Kipp Walker, based on Mitchell’s script which is in turn based on the actual band known as Future Folk (which d’Aulair and Klaitz are the members). It is truly a film that “dares to be different”–which is what the Beyond category for the festival is all about–and it’s as much fun as you can have without causing any trouble yourself. The story is fitting for children of all ages and will have you screaming, “Hondo!” by the end. If you like music (even marginally), you’ll enjoy this fantastic ride. I know I did. Hondo!
If you’re still not convinced, here’s a little clip.