Listen closely to the soundtrack of Luba and you’ll hear Andrew Rodriguez’s “Soon It Will Be Too Late,” the film’s unofficial anthem, appear almost invisibly.
The song underscores an early scene in which Luba (Nicole Maroon), her ex-husband Donnie (Hannibal’s Vladimir Jon Cubrt), and son Matty (Porter Schaefer) enjoy a moment before their situation turns dark.
The song simply plays in the background via the radio. The scene highlights Luba’s slice-of-life realism, largely accentuated through music that makes the lo-fi indie authentic.
“For two years, I was trying to place the song where it was front and centre,” explains Cubrt, who also wrote and produced Luba. “We ended up sticking it as an Easter egg in an early scene when things are still going okay. The love that’s shared in the song reflects Luba’s relationship with her son. It has that sense of urgency.”
Rodriguez’s music landed in Luba after Cubrt approached him to score the film. That didn’t work out, but Cubrt says Rodriguez gave him free reign of his catalogue. Luba also features Rodriguez’s haunting “No One Sees the End” in the film’s centrepiece scene in which Matty stumbles upon Donnie in a crack den.
Rodriguez, who previously fronted the Montreal indie band Bodega and is currently playing in bands Comfort of Strangers with wife Kate Dyke as well as Good Bad Kid, says that Luba spoke to his own concerns with confronting the human condition through music. “Something powerful happens when film and music intersect like that,” says Rodriguez.
Although the soundtrack features an eclectic roster of indie names, Rodriguez’s songs guide Luba’s emotional arcs. The repetition of a familiar voice underscores the dark twist in the family’s journey. “I think any kind of cohesion helps move the story along,” observes Rodriguez. “I’ve always been a fan of various films that have soundtracks with artists doing a few of the songs, like Simon & Garfunkel in The Graduate or Cat Stevens in Harold and Maude.”
But “Soon It Will Be Too Late” evokes Luba’s central theme of second chances. “With that song and the record it’s from, I was trying to streamline, simplify, and get down to the basic [elements] without being too literal,” adds Rodriguez. “That opens it up to other visuals and allows other things to happen.”
“That’s what Luba is,” says Cubrt. “Luba brought together a lot of people who were trying to advance their careers. We wanted do the things that the industry hadn’t given us an opportunity to do.”
LUBA celebrates a limited run engagement in Toronto and Calgary on January 10, 2020.