Quantcast
Connect with us

Bob Marley documentary electrifies Berlin

Published

on

A hotly awaited documentary on Bob Marley has premiered to cheers at the Berlin film festival, tracking his journey from bullied biracial Jamaican boy to reggae superstar.

“Marley” by Oscar-winning Scottish film-maker Kevin Macdonald is a two-and-half-hour-long tribute to a child of the Kingston ghettos who made reggae a global phenomenon by the sheer force of his talent and charisma.

ADVERTISEMENT

“For me, Bob is really one of the greatest cultural figures of 20th century. I don’t think anyone in popular music has had the same lasting impact that he has,” Macdonald, 44, told reporters after a rapturously received screening.

“Anywhere you go in the world, you find his image, his music, his wisdom — literally anywhere you go. So it’s nice to be a small part of that and hopefully to bring to people around the world a sense of who this man was as a human being, not just as the legend, not just as the great icon.”

Macdonald bagged an Academy Award for his 1999 documentary “One Day in September” and Britain’s BAFTA for his 2006 feature about Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, “The Last King of Scotland”.

“Marley” features around 50 of his songs, including rare early recordings and electrifying concert outtakes of hits with his band the Wailers such as “Jammin”, “Get Up, Stand Up”, “No Woman, No Cry” and a duet of “I Shot the Sheriff” with Stevie Wonder, who helped him break into the US market.

ADVERTISEMENT

The film maintains a strict chronological approach, telling of his 1940s childhood of grinding poverty in the mountains of Jamaica after his black mother is abandoned by his white father, Captain Norval Marley.

Macdonald tracks down a former teacher and white and black half-siblings who describe an intelligent, driven, disciplined boy who suffered as an ostracised “half-breed”.

In a moving passage, Macdonald plays Marley’s song “Corner Stone” for two of the half-siblings as they discuss the impact of his father’s rejection on his life and work.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bunny Wailer, one of the few surviving members of Marley’s band, also appears in the film, still resplendent in his rasta cap and dreadlocks, and tells of their early work with fellow reggae great Peter Tosh for which they earned “three pounds a week”.

Rita, his widow and backup singer, speaks affectionately about Marley despite his countless affairs and describes how she would dispense with groupies from his dressing room for him when he needed time to unwind with a spliff and his guitar.

“We never fought about women,” she says.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rohan Marley, one of the singer’s 11 children by seven women, came to Berlin for the premiere.

He said he grew up sharing his father with the world and recounted a story from childhood in which the star gave him and his brother money and told them to buy ice cream for the Kingston youngsters who would mass at the gates of their sprawling house.

“My father told us this: ‘You’re inside the gates, you’re OK. I’m here for the ones outside the gates’,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Growing up we knew that all children belong to him. We may call him Daddy but we’re just one of the many, you know,” said Rohan, who bears a strong resemblance to his father, with a smile.

A close friend of Marley’s and his art director during the 1970s and early 1980s, Neville Garrick, told reporters that the singer would “chew out” the band members after a show if he heard they had hit a wrong note.

“What made him different from most artists was that he appreciated his audience,” he said. “He always did his best… he was a very hard taskmaster — he was a real perfectionist.”

The film also traces the impact of Jamaica’s rampant political violence, in which Marley was once shot during a live performance, the singer’s Rastafarian beliefs and attachment to Africa — he sang at Robert Mugabe’s inauguration in Zimbabwe in 1980 — and his attempts to battle cancer before his death at 36.

ADVERTISEMENT

A rousing sequence runs during the final credits in which fans across Asia, Africa, America and Europe keep the Marley legend alive, singing along to his songs.

The Berlin film festival runs until Sunday.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Stephen Colbert rips ‘idiot’ GOP senator for defending Trump’s unconstitutional self-dealing

Published

on

"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert returned from New Zealand for a new show that aired Monday evening.

"I have been as far from the insatiable black hole of news that is Donald Trump as you can get on this planet.

I've heard there have been some developments over the last 10 days that did not go well for Donnie,"

The host ripped Trump's 71-minute press conference.

"Seventy-one minutes is not a press conference, it's a one man show," he explained. "If you liked 'Fleabag,' you'll love Donald Trump in 'Douchebag,'" he said.

[caption id="attachment_1555275" align="aligncenter" width="800"] ‘The Late Show’ graphic (screengrab)[/caption]

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’

Published

on

Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.

Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

Published

on

Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image