Hardcore fans of late reggae superstar Bob Marley will groove over “Time Will Tell,” a cut-and-paste docu on the Rastafarian’s life and music that covers the basics, but little more. Vid-to-film production by Island, the Jamaican-born singer’s diskery, doesn’t offer many insights for general auds.
Bulk of the footage is of the dreadlocked Marley and the Wailers performing in concert, from London to California, to a 1980 independence day gig in Zimbabwe. The dozen or so numbers take in all the classics, plus some homevideo of the man himself jamming privately.
Aside from dated captions for each song, pic has few signposts for the uninitiated, and no narration. Marley’s own words from interviews make up the filling between the songs, with his thoughts on Rasta, politics and puffing the Herb. Problem is that only trained ears will catch more than 50% of what he’s mumbling in heavy patois.
Most interesting segs for the uninitiated are in the opening, sketching his upbringing in the poor Trenchtown quarter of Kingston, Jamaica, and the moving footage of his public funeral on the island after his death of lymphatic cancer in Miami on May 11, 1981, at age 36.
Editing is smooth and mobile without resorting to MTV-style hype. Vid transfer to 35mm is okay but limited by the variable quality of the original material.