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THE HARDER THEY COME

Jamaica, 1972 (MIFF 1973)

Director: Perry Henzell

Made by Perry Henzell, who has emerged successfully from BBC drama training, this is the first feature to have been made in Jamaica. Its plot seems to have been constructed, at least in part, around the adventures of its leading actor, Jimmy Cliff. Ivan is a young Jamaican who arrives in Kingston from the country hoping to make his name as a pop star, His aspirations are undermined after he has made his first record, when he discovers that the industry is under the control of a powerful music publisher. Virtually starving, he turns to casual labour for his livelihood, and finds board with a strict preacher. Frustrated by the restrictions placed upon him, he flees to a shanty town, taking with him Elsa, a ward of the preacher's. There, he is introduced to marijuana by a friend, and he turns to selling the herb in order to obtain some sort of an income, but again he is exploited, this time by his supplier. He attempts to break free, but is set up by the supplier who has police contacts. The ensuing clash with the authorities turns him into a folk hero, and his record becomes a huge success as a result. But Ivan is unable to reap the benefits of his achievement.

See also...

ROCKERS

The first Reggae musical to rival the legendary The Harder They Come, Rockers is set in the same Jamaican and Rastafarian context Its hero. Horsemouth. lives lackadaisically in Kingston and works as ... More »

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