Hollywood Zion: 'Do the Reggae' at BAM

Five days of reggae royalty, mixing it up on-screen

Land of Look Behind
Courtesy BAMcinématek
Land of Look Behind
Courtesy BAMcinématek


'Do the Reggae'
August 2 through 6

With glimpses into studio recording sessions, sound-system parties, and pressing plants, Rockers follows the production and distribution of music through Kingston as the circulation of blood through a body—and taking in the "Do the Reggae" program as a whole, one develops a feeling for a real community. Horsemouth performs with a tourist club-band fronted by none other than Inner Circle's Jacob Miller. Jack Ruby, the producer with whom Horsemouth haggles, can also be seen twiddling the knobs at a sound-system party in Deep Roots Music's "Ranking Sounds." Marley's "Nappy Dreads" can be seen live in Heartland Reggae, then heard in Land of Look Behind on the speakers of the Swing-A-Ling Mobile Record Shop, whose proprietor eulogizes Marley. Jamaica is, one senses, just a small island after all—which makes its fecundity all the more remarkable.

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"Rockers" is indeed a great film, but a warning about the most recent "improved" DVD release (from 2005). As was done with the original film of "The Harder They Come", subtitles were attached to the original theatrical release of "Rockers" (the thought was that Americans couldn't understand the Jamaican accent). While I have seen "Rockers" without the subtitles (and maybe the showing at BAM is also), the DVD has the subtitles on the actual digtal master. In other words, you can't get rid of them! It's quite annoying, to say the least. On the older DVD release (2000 - still available) with worse picture quality, the subtitles are optional.  I haven't heard about a newer version coming out, so until someone wises up, you have two choices - both of which are insufficent to me.


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