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More than just a musician.
FILM: “It is mentioned in the Bible that there shall be this music and that all people of all global concerns shall play and dance and sing this music. It is in the Revelation. What other music could that be?” asks Bunny Wailer, cocking a cheeky wink.
Wailer, the militant Peter Tosh, and Bob Marley brought reggae into the universal consciousness, but it is the charismatic frontman Marley whose face most keenly resonates with the music.
His name has become a byword for reggae, and his songs have touched people across the world.
This documentary is an exhaustive study of his drive and mystique. It is an ode that takes you from his upbringing in the languid green of rural Jamaica to the “heavy vibration” – his words – of the the Trenchtown ghetto where his genius took root to the superstar trappings of a bona fide rockstar.
Using rare footage of Marley at work and play, the story of his rise from streetkid to global icon is primarily told by the people who shared the journey with him.
There is a tendency to gloss over Marley’s indiscretions as a man. The fact that he fathered a small army of children with numerous women, while still married, is bizarrely framed by the applause for a rendition of the classic Kinky Reggae. Even his long-suffering wife, Rita, prefers to look at the bigger picture – his spreading of Rastafarian ideology and music to the world – rather than dwell on the affairs that must have caused her a lot of grief.
Marley’s fiery temper is turned into a funny anecdote about him interrogating a greedy promoter. As the man himself said: “You see, I personally know my heart can be as hard as a stone, and yet as soft as water.”
But as this documentary reaches a reverential close, with the humble funeral of Marley playing out to sunny Caribbean skies and a Rasta spiritual, it’s hard to escape the mood that coats everything in this film; and that is that Marley was so much more than a musician.
His poetry continues to speak to those bearing the yoke of oppression and poverty, to those who long for a life at peace with their fellow man.
In the words of the flamboyant and legendary producer Lee “Scratch” Perry, people love Marley “because of the story he tell and how him tell it. Pitiful. Tell it that you have to believe it (sic).”
SPECIAL FEATURES: Bonus interview outtakes with bunny Wailer. – Witbooi Slim