A new documentary on the life and legacy of Rasta icon Bob Marley takes a closer look at the man behind the legend and reveals previously neglected sides of the semi-saint as well as new fascinating aspects of a man who changed the world for the better.
Ghetto boy, reggae musician, Pan-African icon, freedom fighter, father of (officially) 11, loving husband, charming womaniser, ganja man and talented football enthusiast: Robert Nesta Marley (1945 – 1981) was a man of many faces who merged organically into the image that adorns posters, T-shirts and record covers all over the world.
In his new, feature-length documentary "Marley”, Scottish director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, Life In A Day), presented at the Berlin Film Festival in February and now out in selected theatres, takes a close look at superstar Bob Marley – perhaps closer than worshippers of the legendary Jamaican musician and political force may want to look.
We hear about Bob’s unfaithfulness to wife Rita, the ghostly presence of his white father Norval Marley, who bragged of being the Captain of the Colonial Caribbean army (but wasn’t), the brutal assault by unknown gunmen inside Bob’s Kingston home, as well as his dogmatic stance which lead to the break up of his original band The Wailers. But “Marley” also offers never seen before electrifying concert footage, moving complements of his contemporaries and lets his subject speak his mind in rare interview footage.
Bob Marley's birthhouse in Nine Mile, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica.
Thanks to the warm-hearted support of the Marley family and such key figures in Bob’s musical evolution, like the long-estranged original Wailer, Neville "Bunny" Livingstone and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, the documentary takes a reverent but also level-headed point of view over the lifestory of a driven man on the thorny road to his own subcultural apotheosis.
"It seemed very important to make this film now, while some of the people who had known Bob the best, in the early years in particular, were still around to tell the tale," Macdonald said, “and I tried to keep it simple, because the story is so complex.”