Thursday, February 13, 2014

PAFF.ORG Art & Film Festival: RasTa: A Soul's Journey World Premiere 2014

RasTa: A Soul's Journey World Premiere
(2012/Canada/Documentary/95 min)
Dir: Stuart Samuels
Donisha Prendergast,  First grand-daughter of Bob & Rita Marley
Photography by ProfoundlyKim on Tumblr
If you were ever curious about the roots of and origins of the Rastafarians, RasTa: A Soul's Journey should be at the top of your list. This documentary takes us on a journey with Bob and Rita Marley's first granddaughter, Donisha Prendergast. Donisha's quest to learn the truth about the origins of the Rasta religion and culture spans 8 countries: Jamaica, Ethiopia, South Africa, Britain, Canada, India, Israel and the United States. Each country brings her into close contact with people from all walks of life that live Rasta in the forms of religion, culture, diet, philosophy, artistic expression, relationships and political ideology.

What I loved about the film was experiencing this young Rasta woman connect with people of all races, ages, nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds. From the freedom fighters of the South Africa and the political scholars in Ethiopia to the Israeli Jews in the temples of Israel, their common spiritual link to Rastafari was undeniable. Donisha was received with love by all, not simply because of her lineage to reggae royalty, but because her tongue spoke the same language and her heart beat to the same Nyabinghi drums of Rasta people worldwide. Donisha's pursuit of Rasta knowledge brought so many pieces of the puzzle together and the viewer will appreciate the effort this documentary took to show Rasta in all aspects of life in the puzzle pieces located around the world.

Donisha received gifts of stories on her grandfather, the legendary Bob Marley, from people who knew him personally. She also learned about the history of Leonard Howell, the first Rastafarian, and how he established Rastafarianism in the hills of Jamaica. Donisha wept when she learned about the persecution of Rasta that ensued when the Jamaican government felt the need to extinguish this peaceful rebellion which was teaching the descendants of slaves to open their eyes to new things and embrace African spirituality.

The history of Marcus Garvey and the coronation of Haile Selassie were other important gems in this film which do even more to validate this beautiful piece as a classroom history tool.

The breathtaking landscapes and heartical people Donisha embraces in the 8 countries she visits as well as the irie music throughout the film make it a 90 minute excursion to destinations pleasing to the Rasta in our heart. I would definitely recommend this film to every member of the splintered, destructively partisan and ineffective United States congress and urge them all to blaze it up while dem a chant praises to Haile Selassie I, learn about ital livity and sing ONE LOVE.
Yougahnese Williams, Writer-At-Large 

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