Matangi / Maya / M.I.A.
The journey of international pop star M.I.A. from her Sri Lankan birthplace through her southwest London childhood, controversy and fame, crafted from her personal archive by longtime friend, director Stephen Loveridge. Matangi Arulpragasam (Maya to her friends, M.I.A. to the world) is known in the music world and beyond as an outspoken figure, but an enigmatic individual. So, it’s surprising that she allowed Loveridge to make this documentary, and use her never-before-seen collection of personal tapes. The film, many-years-in the-making, captures M.I.A.’s diverse influences, from Tamil resistance politics to art school punk, hip-hop beats and the voice of multicultural youth. It also includes candid video recordings of Maya the individual, at home and visiting her Sri Lankan relatives. Her controversial ‘finger’ action alongside Madonna at the 2012 Superbowl, and and the infamous 'truffle fry’ kerfuffle, aren’t ignored either. Loveridge (who studied with Matangi at St. Martins College) has created a coherent, compelling portrait of a person and an uncompromising artist, with a rhythm in keeping with M.I.A.’s energetic music and restless curiosity.
The film comes from a place of deep admiration for M.I.A., but unlike more fawning biographies, it makes a convincing case that this admiration is well earned. – Charlie Phillips, The Guardian
As a raw document of Arulpragasam’s life it’s a treasure trove of intimate insights, and fashions an image of Arulpragasam as an artist who documents things as they happen, rather than shooting material that slots neatly into a shiny, predetermined PR narrative. – Simran Hans, Sight & Sound
Stephen Loveridge is a digital artist and filmmaker from London. MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. is his first documentary feature film.