Documentary on Bob Marley nominated for three major international awards
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday January 22, 2013 – The widely acclaimed 2012 cinebiography of Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley has been nominated for three prestigious awards in two different countries.
Scottish director Kevin MacDonald’s “Marley” has received the nod for a BAFTA – the British equivalent of an Oscar – in the Best Documentary category, while across the Atlantic, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) has nominated the film for its Image Award in the Best Documentary (theatrical or television) category.
Also in the United States, the motion picture’s soundtrack has bagged a Grammy nomination for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.
The BAFTAs have “Marley” vying for the honour with The Imposter, McCullin, Searching for Sugar Man, and West of Memphis. The NAACP Image Award sees “Marley” competing against Black Wings, Brooklyn Castle, First Position and On the Shoulders of Giants – the Story of the Greatest Team You've Never Heard Of.
At the Grammys, meanwhile, Marley’s music will face-off against soundtracks for The Descendants, Midnight In Paris, The Muppets and Rock Of Ages.
“Marley” is the story of a man born into poverty who went on to revolutionise world music and attitudes before he died an international icon over 30 years ago, shortly after his 36th birthday. It is, moreover, the real deal, told without embellishment or simulated scenes played by actors.
The 145-minute documentary begins in West Africa at an old fortress on the Gold Coast (now Ghana), site of the "Door of No Return" through which countless slaves passed prior to shipment across the Atlantic. This was the route travelled by some of Marley’s ancestors that went on to shape his life, identity and music.
Director Macdonald then takes audiences to the remote Jamaican village of Nine Mile, where Marley was born in 1945 to Cedella, a black teenager, and Norval Marley, a white employee of the forestry commission.
The Scottish director portrays young Bob as a man who felt rejected by both the black and white communities, an outsider who found a symbolic home in Africa through Rastafarianism and embarked on a mission to unite people in an international, interracial brotherhood.
Marley grew up in the countryside then in Kingston's Trenchtown, where the first photograph of him was taken at the age of 12. The documentation of his early life is sparse, but Macdonald was able to draw on the testimony of his mother, his friends and fellow musicians.
The film pieces together anecdotes about Bob and his band the Wailers developing a new kind of music that fused local and international forms into a distinctive form of reggae, and the progress of a career that took him to the United States, where his mother had relocated, to Europe and to Africa.
Fuller, more recent testimony comes via Bob's Cuban-born wife Rita, who worked in his backing group; Bob's three eldest children, Cedella, Ziggy and Stephen; former Miss World Cindy Breakspeare, who bore him a child; and British impresario Chris Blackwell of Island Records.
The documentary portrays Marley as virtually apolitical, but points out that his lack of political affiliations did not prevent competing forces from courting his allegiance or seeking him as a valuable symbol for furthering their causes. In 1976, five years before his death, an assassination attempt in Jamaica drove him into exile.
As the film draws to a close, it recalls a poignant moment in a German clinic when Bob's mother read the Book of Job to the cancer-stricken musician, shortly before he flew across the Atlantic to die in Miami in May 1981.
Macdonald concludes the documentary on a One Love note, with a succession of Marley's hits being sung in a various languages by youngsters on every continent. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)