ImageNation Outdoors: Rockers! a Harlem Week screening!
Rockers is a 1978 Jamaican film by Theodoros Bafaloukos. Several popular reggae artists star in the movie, includingLeroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, Burning Spear, Gregory Isaacs, Big Youth, Dillinger, and Jacob Miller.
Horsemouth, a drummer living in a ghetto of Kingston plans to make some extra money selling and distributing records. He buys a motorcycle to carry them to the sound systems around the island. The film starts as a loose interpretation of Vittorio de Sica’s The Bicycle Thief and turns into a reggae interpretation of the Robin Hood myth.
Rockers was originally intended to be a documentary but blossomed into a full-length feature showing the reggae culture at its peak. With a budget of JA$500,000, the film was completed in two months.
In this film, the culture, characters and mannerisms are authentic. The main rocker Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, for example, is shown living with his actual wife and kids and in his own home. The recording studios shown are the famousHarry J Studios where many roots reggae artists recorded during the 1970s including Bob Marley. The film includes Kiddus I‘s recording of “Graduation In Zion” at the studio, which he happened to be recording when Bafaloukos visited the studio. The authenticity of this film influenced Storm Saulter’s Betta Mus’ Come.