Though many are familiar with Bob Marley's music, few details of his personal life are known. Yet a new film, 'Marley', which just made its debut at the Berlin Film Festival, has managed to capture Marley's world beyond music. Through extensive interviews with his family, award winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald brilliantly captures the reggae sensation's journey from Jamaica to global stardom. The lengthy film ends with Marley losing his battle with cancer in 1981 at just 36.
Macdonald's quest to accurately portray Marley's story grew out of his frustration with previous film representations of the legendary icon. Furthermore, he sought to make a raw and honest work rather than a highly stylized feature. He told Reuters:
I just felt like there weren't any good films about him and a lot of misinformation. I wanted to make a very simple film. It's the most conventional film I think I ever made, very straight forward, just trying to be a detective and uncover the truth about his life and the truth about his character.
Perhaps the most interesting element of the film is that it aims to dispel the myth of Marley as a free spirited stoner who thrived on a carefree existence. In truth, he was a troubled soul struggling to accept his mixed ethnicity. He also fathered 11 children with a whopping 7 women. 'Marley' also depicts the grave realities of the musician's illness, which eventually impeded his ability to play music. He also faced losing his trademark hair during chemotherapy.
In the end, the film captures what Marley's music has meant to millions around the globe. His son Rohan (who appears in the film with his brother) put it best during a 'Marley' press conference:
We may call him Daddy, but we're just one of the many.