The Upsetter DVD Now On Sale; Directors Interviewed

Upsetter DVD now available

Back in March there was a screening of The Upsetter: The Life & Music of Lee Scratch Perry in Los Angeles. The wonderful Lions played after the screening and questions. The film is interesting – hell it can’t be anything but interesting right? – It’s Scratch! Well the The Upsetter Collector’s Edition DVD of the film is now available and it’s REGION FREE which means playable anywhere in the world. That’s good news for all. Also good news is the release includes a poster and over 30 minutes of bonus footage/deleted scenes.

The co-directors of the documentary Ethan Higbee & Adam Bhala Lough have been self-distributing the film going from city to city and calling theaters themselves asking if they would screen it. They did an interview back in May that’s well written and pretty in-depth about certain aspects of the making of the film including their goals in making the movie and plans to get it seen by the masses around the world.

Adam Lough talked about what the plan was from the beginning for instance: “The plan was really just to tell his life story, and to focus on the key moments of his life story. There were some very important moments in his life that he didn’t want to talk about, or would have preferred to have glanced over and pretend they didn’t really happen. A good example of that is his relationship with Mad Professor, but he wasn’t included in the movie because Lee didn’t want to talk about him.”

He went on to mention some elements that Lee Perry wanted in the film itself including parts of Ice Age (which he mentioned as being a Disney film but isn’t) & The Ten Commandments parting the red sea scene. God ole Scratch always trying new things with the mixing.

The Upsetter is an uninhibited and candid telling of the life of Lee Scratch Perry, told mostly by Perry himself (and with an occasional narration by Benicio Del Toro). The movie’s first image of Perry starts with a wide shot showing a shirtless Perry from afar spinning and flailing his arms. He’s giving an impromptu sermon to himself, it seems at first, but then as the camera pulls in he becomes aware of it, only enough to adjust his proximity to it, and then he keeps going in his own world. Without context or explanation we’ve just been given about the most formal introduction one can get to Lee “Scratch” Perry. It’s not clear, despite the subtitles, what he’s been saying during this scene—he appears to be high, or mad, or both—but then he suddenly stops, smiles at the camera, and says “Hi! Good evening.” And just as you want to be directly engaged by him some more, the opening sequence fades to a title card.

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I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.