Matangi / Maya / M.I.A.
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Director: Steve Loveridge
2018, Sri Lanka/United Kingdom/USA, 95 Minutes, DCP
Language: English and Tamil with English subtitles
This is a film about a wild-hearted little girl, Matangi, forced to flee her war-torn country and resettle, a refugee, in a foreign land. This is a film about a rebellious young woman, Maya, throwing down beats all over London. This is a film about an international superstar, M.I.A., adored and vilified for speaking her mind. This is a film about the childhood experiences that grow us, the adolescent forge that shapes us, and the gravitas of adulthood that asks us to take a stand then watches while we decide what to do. Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., this film is about them, as different as they are, they are one and the same.
Edited from 900 hours of home videos and 500 hours of archival footage, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. took 7 years to finish. In its early incarnation, funded by MIA’s record label and involving her management, the film had the feel you might expect from a VH1: Behind the Music-esque celebrity profile. This was not the film director Stephen Loveridge wanted to make. With the help of NY non-profit Cinereach, Loveridge was able to take the film in a different direction and eventually to completion.
Throughout the film, M.I.A. often asks the questions you didn’t know you were allowed to. For example: “What do female Tamil Tiger soldiers do when they have their periods?” Or more generally: In the face of a repressed and repressive power structure, smugly wedded to misogyny, violence, racism, xenophobia, and addicted to hypocrisy, why ever be a “good girl?” (Keisha Nicole Knight)
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