The Bob Marley music doc simply titled “Marley,” enjoying two Special Presentation screenings at this year’s Hot Docs, is one heck of an excellent music doc. It accesses all the family members close to Marley, his wife, children, distant relatives, who speak candidly about “Robert.” The film travels to the lush, mountainous village of his childhood to the streets of Trench Town. It contains footage from his years in London, his travels on European and American tours, to his trip to Africa. The film recounts Bob’s relationship with Rastafarianism, touches on his infamous virility (12 children by 7 women), and illustrates the politics and social movements of his time which injured him with bullets and tear-gas, and left him shaken. Despite this, he never gave up “music for the people.”
Though the film hears from his band-mates and musical colleagues, what this documentary thankfully avoids is a bunch of contemporary musicians extolling his virtues ad nauseum. Bob Marley’s musical talent and innovation clearly has left a lasting mark on our culture, and in my heart particularly. I certainly don’t need to be told of his talent. When music documentaries resort to this “filler” I am always tempted to tune-out.
“Marley” is a gorgeous, interesting, wholistic journey about a fascinating man and his soulful music. It will probably come to be known as the difinitive Bob Marley film.
For Hot Docs screeening times: http://www.hotdocs.ca//film/title/marley