CATEGORIES Classics, Drama, Foreign Language, Independent, Music & Musicals, Obits, Other Festivals, Toronto International Film Festival, Cinematical Indie, Toronto Film Festival, CinematicalAs a fan of film and of reggae music, I say goodbye to an important figure. Perry Henzell, who directed The Harder They Come, died of cancer Thursday at the age of 70. Henzell wasn't a prolific filmmaker, but his 1972 classic helped popularize reggae music throughout the world. It is one of those films where the soundtrack is just as important as the actual picture.
Henzell shot a second film thirty years ago, but it wasn't finished until just recently. No Place Like Home premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival and is opening in Jamaica this weekend, screening at the Flashpoint Film Festival.
Having grown up listening to Jamaican music and performing in a ska/reggae band, I have to wonder if my life would have been different had The Harder They Come never been made. Sure, reggae would have likely been exposed to the world without the film, but that isn't important. What is important is that Henzell was able to showcase the music and its locale with such a raw, realistic portrayal. Outsiders were able to not only grab hold of the sound, but also its roots and its environment, as they were introduced to a music in its context, something rarely displayed so definitively.