“Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.” allows director Steve Loveridge to show a loving documentary of his friend Matangi aka M.I.A. aka Maya. The title is a confusing mix to the uninformed, but the documentary slowly but surely invites us into their world. Meeting in college, Loveridge and Matangi shared a common love of Western rap. The future rapper had started to anglicize her name into Maya while trying to assimilate. From there, she’s touring with Elastica and trying to decide how to use her music as a platform.

M.I.A. takes over as the artist defined by hours upon hours of footage that she recorded during the lead up to her breakthrough album in 2005 to her later dust-ups at the 2012 Super Bowl. Loveridge crafted Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. into the kind of film that gives M.I.A. the room to define her story. Whether it’s talking about her Sri Lankan freedom fighter father or fleeing to Britain as a kid, the artist controls this narrative. There is even a section focusing on M.I.A. discussing the use of rape as a conflict tool against her native Tamils.

I wish there was a little more on her conflicts with Oprah Winfrey and the Twitter founders. Winfrey really dogged her and I feel like it is a big part of her story to omit. Sure, the broad strokes are examined in her discussing the Sri Lankan Civil War. However, I wish we got more talk of the American Celeb Backlash she got from calling focus to it. People love Paper Planes, but refuse to acknowledge what the song is about. Oh well, some people still think Hey Ya is an upbeat tune too.

Abramorama is two for two this month. Hell, even that Pearl Jam documentary was pretty amazing. I love seeing 2018 treating those guys so well. Check this out when it opens at the arthouse circuit on the 28th.



  • 1 hr and 36 mins
  • Not Rated
  • Abramorama


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