Cool Runnings: The Reggae Movie - 35MM w/ Intro
Documentary, Music | 1985 | 105MIN
In 1983, at the recommendation of Gil Scott-Heron, Sunsplash promoters Tony Johnson, Ronnie Burke, and Don Green asked Robert Mugge to document that year’s festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The financially troubled production has been little seen since its world premiere at the 1983 London Film Festival—at least, in 35mm with Dolby Surround Stereo, as intended—yet has nevertheless achieved legendary status because of the quality of its filmmaking and the featured performances by Third World, Rita Marley, Skatalites, Alton Ellis, Judy Mowatt, Chalice, Melody Makers, and many others. As Richard Cook wrote in the British music magazine New Musical Express, “Mugge’s new film is easily the best record of live reggae on film, a steaming selection of highlights from the 1983 Sunsplash Festival. Mugge’s cameras seem to actually hug the players—he’s realized brilliantly the smoldering intimacy of reggae, and the superb concert sound booms like a giant heartbeat. Excellent routines from Gregory Isaacs, Gil Scott-Heron (a monumental rendition of ’The Bottle’), and Sugar Minott; a spellbinding one from Mutabaruka.” This rare screening of a surviving 35mm print is meant to celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary.
Introduction by Robert Mugge 8/10. Copies of his new memoir Notes from the Road: A Filmmaker’s Journey through American Music will be available for purchase.