Review: We Intend To Cause Havoc
As an avid record collector, Zamrock is something I began to explore as I hunted after incredible music from around the world. The fantastic record subscription service Vinyl Me Please recently released The Story of Zamrock, a box set that highlighted several key albums of this music from 1970's Zambia. Witch is a key band in this story and so I went into We Intend to Cause Havoc excited to learn more about this band.
Director Gio Arlotta is a super-fan of the band and this documentary follows his journey to find the remaining members of Witch. The band was a big deal in Africa in their heyday but never really broke out here. Their biggest influence is the Rolling Stones. Lead singer Emmanuel "Jagari" Chanda was the Mick Jagger of his hometown. There is something sobering about learning that he spent the last few decades working in a diamond mine. He is one of the few remaining members of the band and thus ends up being the central focus of the film.
While Arlotta conveys his love for Witch effectively here, even assisting in a reunion tour, he assumes we know more about the band than I expect audiences truly do. The film doesn't give us a clear-eyed trajectory of the band's history. He unearths some great archival footage of the band but we don't get enough on the formation of the band and the history behind each of their albums. We do learn about how the band morphed from psychedelic rock to disco in a very entertaining section of the film.
I appreciate still how Arlotta treats Jagari. There is sincerity in the admiration he has for this musician. It becomes infectious as We Intend To Cause Havoc goes along. The 90-minute run-time helps keep things moving along and you will certainly know more about the band than you did going into it. I really loved Jagari as a screen presence. He is charming and you instantly understand why Witch rose to the top of the bands in the Zamrock scene. Seeing him get to perform live is also a treasure. While the documentary may have left me wanting a more formal structure, there is plenty here to recommend.