“Are you sure Steve shouldn’t be in this interview?,” M.I.A. said when I asked her how her new documentary came together.
It was a fair question because, technically, the 43-year-old pop star had nothing to do with the making of Stephen Loveridge’s film, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. But she was very much a driving force throughout the creation process thanks to more than 700 hours of personal video footage she handed over to the director eight years ago.
What was supposed to be a music documentary ended up being an in-depth, intimate look at M.I.A.’s journey from war-torn Sri Lanka to international stardom. For critics who have long questioned the motivation behind her activism, the film provides clarity on why M.I.A. has refused to let her political voice be silenced.