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Lowell 'Sly' Dunbar,
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 Richard X
Performed by M.I.A. See more »
'Matangi / Maya / M.I.A.' is fascinating viewing, one of the most gripping, touching and chilling musical biography/documentaries of recent years, and certainly one of the most important pieces of filmmaking ever made about Sri Lanka or even just modern politics in the ugly, self-defeating era of Brexit.
Considering that M.I.A.'s original choice of career was filmmaking, the film features a priceless wealth of intimate camcorder footage from throughout her life, from her early years as a very young pop-loving refugee in London, to befriending Justine Frischmann of Elastica in the mid-90s and becoming an unlikely Britpop groupie, to her adult return to Sri Lanka and emotional reunion with her war-maimed grandmother, to her wide-eyed early years of success, performing at Coachella and Lollapalooza, all the way up to her 'disgraced' Super Bowl performance and the ludicrous aftermath.
Just like the star of the show, this film is very political, very unflinching; a lazy conclusion would be to consider the film more about Maya and Sri Lanka rather than her music, but by showing us exactly where she came from, what she sings about and what motivates her, her music is actually done more of a service than endless talking heads describing her albums and songs would have. And when concert footage is shown it has all the more impact, it is never used as filler like in most music biography documentaries (which are usually really closer to tour videos with some talking inbetween).
Ultimately, 'Matangi / Maya / M.I.A.' ends up being about more than just music, more than M.I.A. herself, even: the film is really about corruption, how we treat other human beings, how we view refugees and other races and the plight of people suffering bloody civil war, which should be of interest to all decent human beings.
Much misunderstood, especially in America, this documentary reveals M.I.A.'s reality, and it seems a hell of a lot more believable and relatable than either America's Super Bowl morality or Britain's 'taking back control' Brexit.
The footage of M.I.A.'s attempts to talk about the genocide happening in Sri Lanka on an American talk show being shut down with a dismissive, arrogant joke about cockney accents has to be seen to be believed, the evil is quite palpable.
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