Bob Marley DocuFilm A New Masterpiece
AUSTIN, Texas — So much has been written about Bob Marley, his life so meticulously documented in print and on film, it doesn’t seem like there’s much left to say about the reggae legend.
The Jamaican singer and songwriter, who died of cancer in 1981, was responsible for spreading reggae music and the Rastafarian religion across the world, and for bringing international attention to the political and socioeconomic strife of his home country. He’s a massively influential figure, not only as a musician, but as an advocate for peace and as a prophet for black consciousness. Marley’s musical message, like his image, is ubiquitous.
And yet there’s still room for a new film about him. The documentary, simply titled Marley, premiered here this week at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Even with all the material that’s come before, Marley offers a fresh look at the musician’s life, his music, his triumphs and his failings. The film packs enough new revelations to satisfy the most die-hard Marley know-it-alls, and those new to his story will be riveted throughout the two-hour-plus running time.
Marley was directed by Kevin Macdonald, who won an Oscar for his 1999 documentary One Day in September, and produced with the cooperation of Marley’s family. Ziggy Marley, the oldest of Bob’s children (he had 11 kids by seven different women), was in attendance at Sunday’s premiere, and described the film as “very intimate and emotional.”
At over 150 minutes, it’s also quite long. Macdonald said he was only contractually obligated to deliver a two-hour movie, but he had so much great material, he decided to go longer.
Marley will see limited theatrical release April 20. It will also be available soon through video-on-demand services.