The First Rasta

Le Premier Rasta
Director: Hélène Lee

France, documentary, 2011, 90 min
Based on a widely-acclaimed book by the same title, “The First Rasta” is a warm story of one of the fathers of the Rastafari movement, Leonard Percival Howell (1893– 1981). At the beginning of the last century he left Jamaica to seek the truth. From Bolshevism to New Thought, from Gandhi to anarchism – every ideology formed Howell’s world-view. In the end, it was the Jamaican wanderer himself who changed the world. After returning to Jamaica in 1939, he founded Pinnacle, the first ever Rasta community. This film is a journey through the wanderings of one man to find his own Promised Land, spiced with euphonious reggae music.
About the director:
Hélène Lee is one of the most famous French journalists, specializing in Jamaican and West African music. A lifelong defender of reggae and world music, she has helped dozens of reggae artists in France to establish themselves on the stage. Hélène Lee is deservedly appreciated as a Rasta culture expert and conservator. The idea of creating “The First Rasta” came after writing the book of the same name. However, ten years had to pass before the director resolved to travel to the jungles of Jamaica yet again in search of what was forgotten and lost.
Section: Music Moves the World

Screenplay: Hélène Lee

Dir. of Photography: Christophe Farnarier