Kevin MacDonald’s Marley at the Puma Yard

Last week, TFR headed to the Puma Yard pop-up bar in East London’s Brick Lane for a screening of Kevin MacDonald’s Marley documentary, and to soak up some record-breaking Olympic sport.

With Kingston-inspired outdoor stalls serving authentic Jamaican food and a Beach Bar offering a selection of Caribbean cocktails, the Puma Yard was surely the perfect place to watch Marley – Kevin MacDonald’s documentary paying homage to the music and legacy of reggae legend Bob Marley.

The film explores the life of the late reggae legend, from his unconventional mixed-race parentage and humble upbringing in Nine Mile, Jamaica, to his rise to worldwide fame. With a passion to uncover the truth behind this somewhat mysterious star, MacDonald has clearly gone to great lengths to track down a huge number of those who knew Marley, including his mother, various members of his band The Wailers, wife Rita (along with a number of the girlfriends) and three of his many children.

Projected onto a brick wall in this warehouse-style pop-up cinema, audiences relaxed on bean bags as MacDonald painted a picture of a man who strived to promote the idea of peace through his music, while championing the beliefs and values of the Rastafari movement. At 144 minutes long, Marley has an aptly laid-back approach to its narrative, taking time to not only explore the life of this music legend, but also his place within the political changes taking place in the US and Jamaica. Whilst, ultimately, this film is destined for a somewhat tragic turn towards its conclusion, Marley succeeds in not only being a tribute to the man himself, but also celebration of the evolution and power of reggae music during the 60s and 70s.

Being just a short distance from London’s Olympic stadium, the Puma Yard screening was given a short interval in order to watch a live projection of the London 2012 Men’s 200m final. With Usain Bolt taking gold, followed by fellow Jamaicans Yohan Blake and Warren Weir bagging silver and bronze medals respectively, celebrations were certainly in order and the atmosphere was full of Jamaican pride.

After the screening, we ventured into the ‘Yard’ itself to savour traditional goat curry with plantain, before checking out the Olympic fan wear designed exclusively for Puma by Cedella Marley, daughter of Bob himself! A fantastic fusion of pop-up cinema, roots reggae and Olympic fever – thanks Puma!

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