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Past Films

MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A.

  • Starring: M.I.A.
  • Director: Stephen Loveridge
  • Genre(s): Biography, Music, Documentary
  • Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 96 min.

Drawn from a cache of personal video recordings from the past 22 years, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. is a startlingly personal profile of the critically acclaimed artist, chronicling her remarkable journey from refugee immigrant to pop star. She began as Matangi. Daughter of the founder of Sri Lanka’s armed Tamil resistance, she hid from the government in the face of a vicious and bloody civil war. When her family fled to the UK, she became Maya, a precocious and creative immigrant teenager in London. Finally, the world met her as M.I.A. when she emerged on the global stage, having created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey along the way. Never one to compromise on her vision, Maya kept her camera rolling throughout.

"Far from a hagiography or a sterile playlist doc, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. is an uncompromising look at an artist who always refused to play by the script others laid out for her. "
- Leonardo Goi, The Film Stage
"Her style, smart outspokenness, controlling her image and art, are a wonder to behold. "
- Roger Moore, Movie Nation
"[Stephen] Loveridge's movie is a fantastic and kinetic fulfillment of Maya Arulpragasam's desire, back then, to be heard as more than an entertainer."
- Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic
"Loveridge celebrates the mashup aesthetic that enabled the artist to find a voice, and reveals that reconciling contradictions... is key to both Arulpragasam's music and the life she's constructed with audacity and wit."
- Serena Donadoni, L.A. Weekly
"Inspires deep respect for the fierce and independent artist she is."
- Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
"A lucid crystallization of both Arulpragasam's private life and her public mission, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. offers an intimate profile of a righteously modern renegade without ever feeling like propaganda or a plea to stream her latest album on Spotify."
- David Ehrlich, indieWire
"An intimate, illuminating doc that puts the focus on M.I.A.’s activism instead of her music and is, in some ways, all the more admirable for it. "
- Amon Warmann, Empire
"This is not a run-of-the-mill pop doc: it’s part defiant portrayal of a woman, part autobiographical travelogue, part tale of a country in turmoil through the coming of age story of a young girl, and part meditation on creativity and self-hood, baring all about the elusive grasp of the westernised dream. "
- Katie Driscoll, CineVue
"The film comes from a place of deep admiration for MIA, but unlike more fawning biographies, it makes a convincing case that this admiration is well earned. "
- Charlie Phillips, The Guardian
"The unusual but revealing documentary Matangi / Maya / M.I.A., a hodgepodge of old video diaries, music videos, performances and interviews spanning decades, reflects M.I.A.’s passionate efforts to enlighten fans about victims of government oppression — while also getting people around the world dancing to her music."
- Tom Keogh, The Seattle Times

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