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Director Steve Loveridge was scolded by Roc Nation for releasing this movie's trailer months before the publicity blitz for M.I.A.'s upcoming album, Matangi. Loveridge responding by writing that he "would rather die than work on" the movie anymore. See more »
Written by Mathangi Arulpragasam and Christopher William Mercer
Performed by M.I.A. See more »
Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. powerfully presents an artist's authenticity to convey a message.
Having only listened to a handful of her songs, M.I.A. was relatively unknown to me both as an artist and a person. Now that I've seen this informative documentary, she has earned my utmost respect for the work she produces and as an individual. A documentary chronicling her early childhood in guerrilla warfare Sri Lanka (Matangi), her immigration to London where she becomes inquisitive regarding the Tamil rebellion (Maya) and her rapid rise to fame as an international pop star where she utilises the medium to convey the brutality of the civil war to the masses (M.I.A.). Fame, fortune and popularity were ideals that never motivated Matangi. Through first-hand experience, she had encountered the very worst of the Sri Lankan civil war. The mass executions. Child deaths. Rape and misogyny. But naturally she felt as if no one was actively attempting to stop the war. No news coverage whatsoever. As a result of this, she utilised her natural rhythmic talents to convey the negative connotations of the war through her music. She never wanted to make a hit, but only to share her views. What this documentary does exceedingly well is make Matangi a relatable individual. Her humanity shines through, and the recordings of her family enhance this perspective. The rapid progression into her musical career coexists with her right to support the Tamil Tigers, and the two are balanced well. Loveridge does encounter a few focussing issues as he is unable to decide which topic takes priority, but for the most part integrates both aspects of her life efficiently. The second half tackles the various media outlets singling her out as a controversial artist, and that is when the film truly finds its pace. The several narrative time jumps does make her life seem disconnected, and does skew the pacing frequently. Her music makes a remarkable impression, however this documentary fails to do that. Whilst that may sound unfair, it was culturally informative and engaging despite the cumbersome narrative stumbles.
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