The man behind the legend

The man behind the legend

Edmonton Journal
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Jay Stone, Postmedia News

BERLIN – He was a musician, a spiritual leader, a ladies’ man, a smoker of heroic amounts of ganja, a political force and a religious icon. And, 31 years after his death, Bob Marley is still a chart-topper: His Legend album sells 250,000 copies a year, even now.

“Everywhere in the world people look at Bob as some kind of leader, philosopher, prophet, someone who speaks to their lives and in whom they find wisdom,” says Scottish filmmaker Kevin Macdonald. “It’s fascinating: Why is that? Nobody else has had that effect in music.”

Macdonald directed the documentary, Marley. It’s a definitive—not to say encyclopedic—biopic of a musician who was a mystery, despite his popularity as the first poet of reggae. Almost 2 and a half hours long, it includes concert footage and interviews with friends and family. It is having its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival

…The Scottish director took over the project from Jonathan Demme, who dropped out because of the lack of historical documents with which to put together a full picture. Macdonald said he became committed to it while in Uganda shooting The King of Scotland, his film about Idi Amin.

“I went into the Kampala slums with some of my actors, and people had Bob Marley pictures, graffiti, pictures,” Macdonald said. “Twenty-five years after he died, he still had a huge impact. There’s no other musician I can think of who has that position in culture, so long after he’s dead, and so far away, in a poor part of a central African city.”

He looked at the film as a kind of detective story. Much of Marley’s identity came from the fact that he was of mixed race—his mother was black, his father white—so that, in some ways, he was an outsider in his own country. Despite Macdonald’s research, however, Marley’s father, Norval, remains a mystery: There is a photograph of him in the movie, but not much information…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,