A documentary about rock critic Robert Palmer, The Hand of Fatima has its local premiere at 7 tonight at the Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall. Here's our review of the film.
The Hand of Fatima
(U.S., 2009) Rock scribe Robert Palmer covered music for Rolling Stone
and The New York Times
and wrote Deep Blues
, a cultural history of the blues. His filmmaking daughter Augusta Palmer provides an overview of the late critic’s career in this intriguing documentary. She explains how he would introduce young rock stars to guys like hill-country blues icon R.L. Burnside and recollects how he went to Morocco to hang out with the Master Musicians of Jajouka, returning home to spread the word about them. But The Hand of Fatima
— the title refers to a piece of jewelry designed to ward off evil that Palmer brought back from Morocco and left to Augusta in his will — is also about how Palmer wasn’t a very good father and abandoned Augusta’s mother just after she was born. “He must have had a great hole inside himself,” says Augusta’s mother. That might be true, but his prose, which is used extensively in this film, still sounds compelling, as Augusta retraces his steps and goes to Morocco to revisit the places he went. ***