Definitive Bio On Bob Marley Hits Theaters

WI Staff Writer | 4/20/2012, 10:56 p.m.

Full disclosure is also made about Marley's 11 children by seven (or, some say eight) different women, apart from his wife Rita. In the film, Rita is asked her feelings about being married to a man who had several publically-known girlfriends during their marriage. She describes herself as "more of a guardian angel to him at that time" than a wife.

Also deeply moving are the interviews with children Cedella and Ziggy Marley about the time of Marley's death, when they were called to his side in his final hours in a Miami hospital, as well as footage of his last months spent in Bavaria, Germany, under the care of holistic doctor Josef Issels at his Rottach-Egern Clinic. Marley's cancer, which started as melanoma in his toe, was terminal by the time he sought treatment, and the photos of a gaunt, bald Bob Marley are touching.

MARLEY is directed by Kevin Macdonald, who also directed "The Last King of Scotland" about Ugandan strongman Idi Amin Dada, and "One Day in September," the Oscar-winning documentary about the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. MARLEY, which took six years to make, was co-produced by Ziggy Marley who led the group with his siblings, Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. Chris Blackwell, of Island Records also contributed to the production.

What shines through all of the interviews, in historical footage and documentation, are the timeless songs that made Bob Marley an international superstar, and they are still as catching and relevant as ever. Several unreleased tracks of music are included this documentary, which for longtime Marley fans, adds to their knowledge. But for those who never really knew the Bob Marley story, this film is a cradle-to-grave intimate look at his life, and his short, yet stellar career.

"MARLEY is one of the most personal, detailed and moving documentaries about Bob Marley -- the man and the cultural freedom fighter," said Dera Tompkins, a colleague of Bob Marley's and producer of Washington D.C.'s annual Bob Marley's Birthday Tribute.

"Many Black people in America did not know about Bob Marley until after his passing in 1981. I would especially encourage African Americans of all generations to see this film, to understand that during the last phase of his career, Bob was determined to reach and deliver his conscious messages of African unity and pride to the Black American audience," she added.

"The main themes of Bob Marley's songs are the history, struggles, hopes, and prayers of Africans throughout the Diaspora," Tompkins said. "Bob was singing songs of freedom for all of us."

"MARLEY" opened at the Landmark E Street Cinema in downtown Washington.