From Jamaica to the World: Reggae on Film

We celebrate the music of a country that has continually punched above its weight on the international stage.

August 2022 marks 60 years of Jamaican independence from Great Britain, a period in which the new nation remade itself culturally and creatively as well as politically. From the moment the Union Flag was lowered for the final time original Jamaican music blossomed as ska gripped Jamaica to define this proud new era. Luckily for us, so much of what was created on the island was captured on film – either by the burgeoning Jamaican industry or interested outsiders keen to investigate wha’ g’wan. This collection covers all aspects of that culture, including the celebrated classic The Harder They Come, on its 50th anniversary.

Lloyd Bradley, curator

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Burning an IllusionBurning an Illusion

Drama1982102 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz

Menelik Shabazz’s pioneering first feature traces the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher’s London.

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The Story of Lover's RockThe Story of Lover's Rock

Documentary2011100 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz

Menelik Shabazz (Burning an Illusion) shines a light on the music genre often dubbed ‘romantic reggae’; a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems.

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Being BlackerBeing Blacker

Documentary201889 minsDirector: Molly Dineen

Molly Dineen’s acclaimed documentary about renowned Brixton-based music producer Blacker Dread.

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The Harder They ComeThe Harder They Come

Drama1972103 minsDirector: Perry Henzell

The cult classic, acknowledged as the catalyst for the popularisation of reggae in the US, sees Jimmy Cliff traversing the underbelly of Jamaican shanty-town life.