Marley…? National Hero?
While Jamaicans sit back, some debating whether Bob Marley should be given the highest national honour of hero, the rest of the world celebrates reggae and France aggressively creeps toward the status of ‘reggae capital’ of the world. Marley is celebrated in every corner of the globe, and revered for his contribution to a renewed consciousness of human rights, justice, one love and Rastafari as a way of life. Marley is a legend.
Film is increasingly used as a political tool, and no less in locales such as Jamaica where the film industry is growing steadily. The annual Reggae Film Festival is being staged in Kingston from April 17 to 21. Of interest this year is that Julian Henriques’ film We, The Ragamuffin is being screened, and the highly publicized film Marley will be premiered. ‘There will also be a special Jamaica 50 Programme (marking Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence from Britain) that will feature retrospective screenings of early Jamaican films, including the classic The Harder They Come, Life and Debt and short films from Chris Browne, director of Ghett’a Life and Third World Cop.’
But, it is the film Marley which I pause to shed light on. The first film authorized by the Marley family (with co-executive producer Chris Blackwell), Marley features an all-star cast with no less than Bob, his son, Ziggy, daughter, Cedella, and widow, Rita, as well as Bunny Wailer, Lee Perry, Jimmy Cliff, Cindy Breakspeare, Chris Blackwell and Dr Carlton ‘Pee Wee’ Fraser.
Exposing Marley’s life from ‘cradle to grave’, Director Kevin MacDonald had some 13 months to work on the project during which he interviewed family members, friends, lovers and musicians. The 2 1/2 hour long film features concert footage of incredible performances, revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best, and 50 of Marley’s songs, as well as some from other artists.
Organizers of the Jamaican film premiere are expecting a record turnout for the event on April 19 when many will view rare footage from the family’s archives. The film is being released in the United States by Magnolia Pictures In. It will be in theatres and on demand 4.20.2012
I have read about the premiere in Germany’s Berlinale – 62nd International FIlm Festival, Marley’s reception in places such as Curaçao where tickets went on sale and were sold out in four hours (via @sabilkatriumph), and, I am surely looking forward to seeing what is considered the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to the rise to international superstardom.
So, ‘all an’ all you see wha’ gwaan’, don’t miss the Jamaica premiere on April 19 at Emancipation Park. See you there!!