Man Free explores the Jamaican mentality

There are few countries in the world, known throughout all hemispheres, with only three million residents.

Jamaica is one such country. The global knowledge of this tiny island is mainly due to extraordinary achievements in sports and music, with dominant figures being Bob Marley and Usain Bolt. But Jamaica is also known for drugs, political corruption and crime.

But what drives the men and women behind the media light and headlines? And is there a particular Jamaican mentality? These are two questions U.S. director and writer Kinsey Beck is trying to answer in his documentary Man Free.

Meet a former taxi driver, a young female entrepreneur running her own bakery and two brothers making their living as artists as well as a man struggling with cocaine addiction wishing he had more power to fight it. Legendary Jamaican film maker and director Perry Henzell is also featured throughout setting a narrative to the story.

Man Free paints a picture of the ordinary Jamaican struggling to make his and hers day to day living. It’s picture full of ambitions and industriousness as well as hospitality and caring.

It’s an interesting glance into everyday life and its challenges and opportunities. But Man Free would have gained from having a harder angle, for instance by diving deeper into the life of one or two people.

The title is a Jamaican expression for somebody that does something you don’t particularly approve of, and the Jamaican just say “man free”. This expression sums it up pretty well – to get somewhere, you can’t always ask for permission, you have to take the chances you get, whether some people like it or not.

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