Brow Beat

Watch the Trailer for the Long-Gestating Documentary About M.I.A.

The first official trailer for the long-awaited biographical documentary Matangi / Maya / M.I.A is here at last. The film documents the life of the rapper M.I.A. (whose real name is Mathangi Arulpragasam) using archival footage from when she and her family fled Sri Lanka during the country’s civil war, her childhood in the U.K., and her career, including her 2012 Super Bowl performance, for which she was sued by the NFL for flashing her middle finger.

From the beginning of her career as a musician, marked by the release of her first album Arular in 2005, M.I.A. has been as recognized for her innovative sound, combining elements of music from all over the world. She is also known for her advocacy: Notably, she is a supporter of the Muslim Tamil minority in Sri Lanka, to which she belongs, and of the Tamil Tigers, a militant organization that has earned her heaps of criticism. The documentary seems to set out to add nuance to the image of one of the most influential and controversial figures in popular music from the 2000s.

Matangi / Maya / M.I.A has been in the works since at least 2011 and hit several roadblocks along the way, with director Steve Loveridge even quitting the project out of frustration in 2013. He has since returned to it, and won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.