Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Kevin MacDonald's documentary "Marley" of the reggae musician is a hit at Filmfest DC

Kevin MacDonald, the Scottish director of “Touching the Void” and “The Last King of Scotland”, as a long-winded  (145 min) documentary biography “Marley: The Definitive Story” of “reggae, ska, and rocksteady” Jamacian-born musician Bob Marley (and his band “Bob Marley & The Wailers”).  

The choice of documentary, instead of drama, is interesting.  We see a lot of fuzzy historical shots rather than studio reconstructions.  The photography on Jamaica, with the knob hills, is breathtaking however.  The film opens with a depiction of the slave trade as it had operated from west Africa, as if the film “Amistad” could follow.

Marley died at 37 of a metastatic melanoma, that started on his toe.  The lesson is cautionary:  black people can get melanoma, and it can start in hidden areas, not sun exposed.  The last half hour of the film covers his decline and final stay in Germany.

The film depicted his religious views, as influenced by Rastafarianism.

The movie was a real hit and sellout at Filmfest DC, as was still pretty well attended on a Monday night in its second week at Landmark E Street downtown.

The film, distributed by Magnolia, is produced by Cowboy Pictures and Shangri-La Entertainment, and has official site link here .

Jamaica, by the way, has been in the past known as a very anti-gay place.  

The film has no relation to the comedy "Marley & Me", reviewed here March 6, 2010. 

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