Having lived in England for over 30 years, Dublin-born filmmakers Christine Molloy & Joe Lawlor aka Desperate Optimists are disturbed by the “unappealing sound of populism and nationalism” there. They consider returning home with their London-born daughter Molly. This journey sparks considerations about what they left behind, what they are returning to and what surprises may be in store.
Like all their output including the wonderful Rose Plays Julie, this is an experimental undertaking, one in which they position themselves at the centre of this exploration splicing their own thoughts with interviews, photographs, personal and political history and much more besides. It’s a wry undertaking which twists through multiple strands, pleating their points as they go whilst leaving some loose strands too.
The Future Tense takes its title from Walter Abish’s story collection In the Future Perfect, whose opening story The English Garden perplexes Lawlor because there appears to be no English garden in it. Are they revisiting the colouring books of their youth to find the same pre-ordained notion of what they are made colour in?
They also revisit a planned project of their’s around Rose Dugdale, a former debutante who rebelled against her wealthy upbringing, becoming a volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army and going on the run. There’s an exploration of the lives of Joe’s mother Helen and brother Derry – one present, one past. A humorous encounter is imagined between Gráinne Mhaol, the Pirate Queen, and Queen Elizabeth I. There’s room for Thomas Moore and Padraig Pearse, Antonioni’s Blow-Up and Aidan Gillen. While this may sound unwieldy, the Desperate Optimists never fail to transfix. Simply entrust their piloting skills for this flight of imagination and questioning too.
Words: Michael McDermott
The Future Tense
Directors: Desperate Optimists: Christine Molloy & Joe Lawlor
Release Date: August 18