Perry Henzell’s rough-hewn 1972 Jamaican crime drama “The Harder They Come” starring Jimmy Cliff became one of the top campus/midnight attractions for years, as well as a major international popularizer of reggae music. Those who wondered why he never made a follow-up now have their answer — he did, but collapsed funding and a presumed-lost negative left 1975-shot “No Place Like Home” sitting there in limbo. What’s finally emerged three decades later is equal parts travelogue and political critique, a watchable mess with ultra-laid-back Me Decade vibe. Curiosity value should spur fest dates and DVD release, if not theatrical exposure.
Plotless pic starts with a crew shooting a shampoo commercial on an idyllic Jamaican beach. When the model (P.J. Soles) takes a hike, producer Susan (Susan O’Meara, a thesping natural found crewing on a Clairol clip when cast) corrals taxi-driver-turned-production-assistant Carl (Carl Bradshaw from “Harder”) into driving her deep into “the real Jamaica.” Their mission is ostensibly to find P.J., but film’s focus is more on providing disgressive, contrasting glimpses of tourist wealth, resident poverty, gorgeous scenery and collective struggle. Highly uneven tech aspects are balmed by a diverse various-artists soundtrack.