New doc, book on great critic/historian/enthusiast/musician ROBERT PALMER

Press release from Anthology Film Archives:


THE HAND OF FATIMA (2009, 75 minutes, video)
by Augusta Palmer
November 13 – 19

Documentary double portrait of a rock critic & his favorite band
Daughter of rock critic Robert Palmer travels from Mississippi to Morocco to investigate her father’s 1971 encounter with the men William Burroughs called “the world’s only 4000 year-old rock band.”

filmmaker Augusta Palmer
Bachir Attar, leader of the Master Musicians of Jajouka
Anthony DeCurtis, editor of Blues & Chaos: The Music Writing of Robert Palmer

Anthology is thrilled to present the US Theatrical Premiere Run of THE HAND OF FATIMA, a double portrait of a rock critic and his favorite band. Robert Palmer was America’s pre-eminent music writer, best known for his book DEEP BLUES and his work for the NEW YORK TIMES. The Master Musicians of Jajouka are a hereditary Moroccan brotherhood who play music older than history, but have also jammed with Ornette Coleman and Sonic Youth. Using Robert Palmer’s writing about the band as her guide, Palmer’s daughter Augusta set out for Morocco in 2005 hoping to find out what happened when her father first met the Master Musicians of Jajouka on assignment for ROLLING STONE in 1971.

The film intercuts verite footage of the filmmaker’s journey with animations of Robert’s experiences in the 1970s, allowing the filmmaker (and the audience) to glean the truth between the lines of Robert’s mystical journey and to understand his all-consuming need for musical transcendence. That need was more than met by the Master Musicians, who were introduced to expatriate Tangiers society by the artist Brion Gysin in the 1950s, and then popularized by Rolling Stone Brian Jones, who recorded an album in their village which became a cult favorite upon its release shortly after his death. Encounters with Yoko Ono, Donovan, Anthony DeCurtis, and the elder Palmer’s four wives round out a journey that culminates with the Master Musicians’ indelible performance in their remote Moroccan village.

This theatrical run coincides with the publication of BLUES & CHAOS: THE MUSIC WRITING OF ROBERT PALMER, a major collection edited by Anthony DeCurtis and published by Scribner.

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