By Grace Williams.
Isn’t it lucky when your favourite artists keep a record of their life through the medium of video? I’m certainly going to start filming more often after watching this doc! I’ll also get my best friend to film me too so they can release all the footage as a documentary in a decade!
That’s exactly what bestie of M.I.A Steve Loveridge has done with MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A and the footage caught is really very special. The footage literally starts to roll from when Maya travels from Sri Lanka as a child refugee in the UK. We see her elevate from art school student to high profile groupie to global star, which is a lot in 90 mins!
This film is insightful, traumatic and eye-opening, covering topics from civil war to flipping off the NFL. Despite the film’s effort to capture the amazing career and life of M.I.A, Loveridge over saturates the documentary often making its impact less. One moment, we’re following Maya as she makes a documentary about her missing cousin in Sri Lanka, then to her having a fight with Elastica front woman Justine Frischmann.
Whilst I understand that the film is about M.I.A and all that she has accomplished, one side often take away the impact of the other. There’s a really honest and important story about the Sri Lankan Civil War. The film focuses on how she ‘failed’ making a documentary of her cousin who was ‘Missing In Action’ (which M.I.A) stands during the continuing conflict. There’s also a documentary about the toxicity of the music industry and the media. Her music speaks volumes about the terrors and atrocities of Sri Lanka, yet the lost, bolshy Maya we see in the documentary often mutes the poignancy of her most fought for cause.
A great watch and an amazing woman, but a little more structure would have made this documentary pack a harder punch.
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