Marley - a film by Kevin MacDonald (1 Viewer)


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Saw this a couple of weeks ago. It's hard to believe that Bob has been dead for more than 30 years now.

MacDonald has made a beautiful film that touches on a lot of the things that other Marley documentaries and biographies have covered, but this is far and away the most artful of all of them.


It's always great to hear Bunny wailer talk about the Wailers, or anything for that matter. He's an animated and entertaining storyteller, and he's got a great memory. A lot of people are interviewed in the film, including Bob's brother from the white side of the family.

That's something that I think shocked a lot of the people in the audience at the screening I saw, hearing that Marley was shunned for much of his young life in Jamaica because his father was white. Bunny puts it very bluntly, saying that it wasn't a question of people being a little bit cruel, they just outright rejected him. Such was life in Jamaica back then, and still somewhat to this day.


It's a long film, at 2 1/2 hours, but it never seems to drag. I can't really give a good objective view of the thing though, because I don't think I'm the target audience. This is more for people with a casual interest, or people who just enjoy his music but haven't read anything about him or really checked out his life.

But if that's you, you'll dig this. It's jam-packed and nice to look at (and hear). A lot is left unsaid, but that's the case with any documentary or biography, isn't it. You can't really sum up a life and career like his in a couple of hours.

But you should definitely see it if you have a chance. A glimpse of something great that will never come down the pike again. And by that I mean the man and the music, and that wildly creative period of the history of this world before we all got computers.


On a side note, the company that put this out, Magnolia, also put out Born Into This and a ton of other good movies. When I see the Magnolia logo on something these days I know it's going to be a quality show.
Finally saw this last week! 2 1/2 hours? You're not kidding, it never dragged. When it was over, I wanted more. I've read a few books but don't ever remember so much information about his last few months. I think I had seen one picture before, but this movie really covered Bob from the beginning until the end.

Interesting to hear his daughter Cedella say she wouldn't have accepted certain ways of her father. Really cool to see Cindy Breakspeare interviewed.
Interesting to hear his daughter Cedella say she wouldn't have accepted certain ways of her father.
I would guess that none of his daughters would tolerate a man like their father.

It's interesting that someone who came up through back country life and then unbelievable ghetto poverty spawned (I typed "raised" first, but he didn't raise any kids) a bunch of kids who were relatively wealthy by the time they were old enough to appreciate such things. A wealthy woman is not generally going to accept the same treatment that a poor woman will.

That's an interesting dilemma for anyone who comes from nothing and then works their way into wealth or influence - how to give their children the grounding they had themselves when their children's lives are completely different.
The DVD extras for this are worth checking out too. There's more of the Bunny Wailer interview and you get to see him smoke herb using a pipe made out of a carrot.

What is that?
This pipe?
Yes, what's it made out of?
Oh, it's a carrot. Very beautiful and versatile plant...

I'm paraphrasing from memory, but it's funny as hell.

There's also a commentary track from MacDonald, and about a third of the way through Ziggy Marley shows up and takes over. It's interesting and very moving to hear Ziggy's take on a lot of that stuff.

Watch it again!
Yeah, mon! Mek yuh come taste sweet, seen?

Sorry. Remember reading that in a Marley interview back in the 70s. He was talking about some Jamaican herb/fruit smoothie drink Gilly used to make for them. He claimed it...well, you get the idea. Funny thing was it was a woman conducting the interview, and she didn't catch what he was saying so she had to ask him to repeat it...

But I imagine jam in yuh donut would do the same. It sounds Jamaican anyway. Don't come round 'ere wit jam in yuh donut, bwai!
It ran in a 2 1/2-hour time slot and was listed as 60 minutes in length on the cable guide. They jammed plenty. I chose expurgated because I'm assuming they took they original and edited (the hell out of) it, but I don't exactly know how/what went into the version I saw. I suppose if they ran the whole version it would have taken over 6 hours. :eek:
It's too bad that someone can spend years creating something and someone else can take a scissors to it (or, I imagine these days, take a computer to it) and just cut out certain bits that they deem irrelevant. If I was a filmmaker or musician or artist or writer I wouldn't like that very much. As a consumer I sure don't like it very much.

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