Rebel Dread: Don Letts
Finally premiering in Sydney after its March 2022 BFI Southbank gala in London, this is the story of DJ/musician, filmmaker and cultural commentator Don Letts. It’s also the story of a new generation of British-born Black mavericks and reggae-loving Rastas whose DIY tenacity found a kindred spirit among the nascent punk scene of the late-‘70s. As Bob Marley would later sing following hanging out with Don Letts in Chelsea, the cross-pollination became something of a “Punky Reggae Party” - although the word “party” came to mean both the knees-up and political varieties. With a super-8 camera always on-hand as a stylish young head-turner, and Enoch Powell’s racism-fuelling ‘Rivers Of Blood’ speech egging him on, Letts went from being the resident DJ at punk's infamous Roxy Club (where he’d blast the pogoing mosh with dub-reggae vinyl since there were scarce punk records yet released), to managing femme-vitales The Slits and forming the bands Screaming Target and chart-toppers Big Audio Dynamite. With hundreds of iconic music videos and documentaries to his credit (not least ‘London’s Calling’ and ’The Punk Rock Movie') Letts has chronicled as well as influenced countless artists over the years and continues to charm and challenge as a much-loved voice on BBC Radio. Traversing the streets of Bristol to the grifitti-rich streets of New York at the birth of hip hop, this documentary also takes viewers from Jamaica to Namibia as Letts parks himself aptly in a director’s chair with a spliff on hand to recount with honesty his life’s restless and many-faceted journey; a journey where bass-rich music has consistently provided the crucial, driving heartbeat.
Why You Should See This Film
While you may recognise Don Letts as the dreadlock-flying figure of street-riot resistance immortalised on the cover of Clash’s groundbreaking ‘Black Market Clash’ record, this documentary will take you deeper into his many faceted music career as well as his complex culture connections and family relationships. It’s all bought to life with archival footage from all corners of the globe, some of it never before seen by the public. On board to flesh out Don's eloquent direct-to-camera stories that span “working” in Malcom McLaren & Vivienne Westwood’s SEX boutique to touring the world’s stages, are friends and peers like Paul Simonon and Mick Jones of The Clash, Jazzie B (Soul II Soul), John Lydon (Sex Pistols/PiL), Daddy G (Massive Attack), Norman Jay, Dennis Bovell, Jeannette Lee, Andi Oliver, Chris Salewicz and Grace Letts.
PRESENTED BY GROOVESCOOTER
Please note: Gift Passes & Film Club Membership discounts can't be used for this special event session. All tickets are $25 for adults / $20 concession.
- Year: 2020
- Rating: MA15+
- Director: William E. Badgley
- Cast: Jazzie B, Norman Jay, Mick Jones, John Lydon, Daddy G
- Duration: 87 minutes
- Language: English