Bob Marley & The Wailers ADD

Bob Marley: One Love - Exclusive Movie Screening in Cologne, Germany 2024

02/08/2024 by Gardy Stein

Bob Marley: One Love - Exclusive Movie Screening in Cologne, Germany 2024

Reggae on Broadway! With this 1972 single, Bob Marley seems to have foreseen what today, 52 years later, has become a reality: Paramount Picture's decision to shoot a cinematic biopic about the "King of Reggae" is visible proof that this music genre from the little island of Jamaica has firmly established itself around the globe.

One week prior to its official theatrical release, the movie Bob Marley: One Love has visited different countries for a premiere tour and special screenings. After Kingston, London, Paris and Los Angeles and Berlin, it was Cologne's turn on Wednesday - February 7, 2024 to welcome illustrious visitors to the city's Filmpalast, the event being organized in a joint venture of Paramount Pictures and the Summerjam Festival. CHECK THE PHOTO REPORT HERE!

The atmosphere was festive indeed, as, starting from 6:30pm, guests from near and far started to arrive, many of whom are regulars at Germany's various reggae festivals. Andrew Murphy aka Mr. Summerjam was there from the beginning, as were Jamaican singers Teacha Dee, Dotta Coppa and Sister Gracy, who came with her husband Diedel Klöver all the way from Varel in the far North. Local artists included Junior Carl, Ingo and Mr. Brown (Pow Pow Movement), EES, composer Helmut Zerlett and, surprise, Wolfgang Niedecken of the 1976-founded rock-band BAP.

Other media representatives on site were Amiaz Habtu (TV Host & Rapper), author Helmut Philipps, Riddim Magazine editors Pete and Ellen and of course the (almost complete) Team Reggaeville.

To the sounds of a fine selection of Marley songs (and the taste of generously provided Cuba Libres), time flew past in meet-and-greets, and close to 8pm, the roundabout 450 people hurried to find a seat in the big cinema hall. 8:15pm sharp, the audience was addressed by Cosmo-moderator Jan Kawelke, who expressed his excitement about hosting this event. "It's like a family meeting!", he said, "everyone falls into each other's arms, smiling faces all around… but let me present you the two persons responsible for this special night!" Introducing Jann-Jakob Loos aka JJ from the Summerjam Festival team and Rebecca Strauch from Paramount Pictures Germany, he asked what they associate with Bob Marley. While Rebecca explained how the movie has brought her in touch with a whole new culture, JJ stressed that, ever since he laid ears on Marley's songs, he admired their beauty and the fact that they always resonate with a message.

Finally, the moment had come when lights were turned down low and, with the hummed notes of the timeless Redemption Song, the movie started. For the next two hours, the audience was all rapt attention, every eye glued to the screen, every ear taking in the sound. Starting with the events around the 1976 Smile Jamaica Concert, the film unfurled in beautiful, authentic and gripping pictures, telling Marley's journey through flashbacks and the persuasive skills of the talented main actors, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Lashana Lynch. Especially the latter makes us understand Rita's side of the story, as she convincingly brings the strength and resilience of this power-woman across. A closer look at the other characters is very interesting as well.

The young Marcia Griffiths is impersonated by Naomi Cowan, singer Alexx A-Game plays Peter Tosh, and two sons step in for their fathers: Abijah aka Asadenaki for the late Bunny Wailer and Aston Barrett Jr. for the recently deceased "Family Man". Other well-known Jamaican faces that pop up in the movie are Mutabaruka, Everaldo "Evie" Creary (a perfect pick to act out Lee "Scratch" Perry), Sheldon "Sheppie" Shepherd and Earl "Chinna" Smith. Of course, the music takes center stage in this film, but it also teaches us a lot about the social and political circumstances of the time as well as Bob's external and internal struggles, the purpose he felt he has to fulfil. "My life is fi people!" he exclaims in one scene and, "Reggae music is the vehicle. The message haffi reach the whole world!" in another.

Bob Marley: One Love
is a cinematic experience you simply have to make. It's not giving the whole picture, because "the full has never been told", as Buju once said, and Bob Marley's life has been too rich, too intense to be squeezed into two hours screen-time. Also, his story is still unfolding, his music is still reaching new audiences, continuing to inspire and uplift people all over the world and, as he himself is heard saying in the movie, "My richness is life. Forever."