Made In Jamaica (4 stars)

Made In Jamaica

(15) 107min

Following the template of Buena Vista Social Club this music doc steadicams its way round the ghettos of Kingston, exploring the variety of music on offer: the venerable reggae scene, represented by Bunny Wailer and the like; and the younger dancehall scene, home to Elephant Man, Lady Saw and Bogle. The violent death of this last figure, a dancer on the popular Wedi Wedi scene, kickstarts the film, setting a dual tone of riotous partying and sombre reflection — as old-timer Gregory Isaacs puts it, ‘Saturday a carnival/Sunday a funeral’.

The film stays largely impartial, while provoking the viewer into forming their own opinion with some stark cutting: for example, Elephant Man discussing his Christian upbringing, then inviting three buxom ladies onstage to simulate rough doggy-style sex. An essential guide to Jamaica’s music scene post-Marley, whose holy name is invoked at every turn. Extras consist of additional performance material, including Toots (he of The Maytals) serenading some school kids.

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