They say history repeats itself. For Matt Hulse, it’s more like a replay – or five. Over and over again he assembles trios of kids from a Glasgow youth theatre group to represent his younger self, his sister and his brother, and walks them through the beats of their pre-teen post-punk band, The Hippies.

If that sounds exhausting, well, let’s just say Hulse celebrates his 50th birthday on film with the intense glare of an 11-year-old. This, he explains in one of his regular snippets of voiceover, is a film he’s been trying to make for a decade. He admits to stretching everyone’s patience so thin that, early on, a producer quits. The film leaps frantically from archive footage to shaky, hand-held group shots, from new animation to the kids rehearsing to camera.

It’s relentless and jarring, but slowly, out of the ramshackle chaos – tapdancing one minute, snogging Malcolm McClaren’s grave bust the next – a deeply personal narrative starts to coalesce. At the centre is an all-grown-up little boy revealing how a quirky creative project kept him in touch with his mother after a painful divorce. Ruth Pendragon herself comes across exactly as you might imagine someone a couple of letters away from being King Arthur’s dad; her gentle reminder to her son that she might remember things a different way is one of the finest moments in the film.

It takes, honestly, a little too long to get there. Hulse’s self-awareness may be his Achilles’ heel, since there are only so many times you can be self-indulgent about self-indulgence. But it would take a cold heart to remain unmoved when, even at his big age, he stands in front of a room full of friends and family and asks his mum, possibly rhetorically, why she left. 



CAST: Matt Hulse, Toby Cartwright, Sarah Cole, Jamie Haughey

DIRECTOR: Matt Hulse

WRITER: Matt Hulse

SYNOPSIS: Matt Hulse relives his own pre-teen post-punk band years through kids from a Glasgow theatre group.