Directed by Franco Rosso
Writers Franco Rosso and Martin Stellman
— Wesley Morris, The New York Times
"Assertive and ebullient, Babylon is as alive as a movie can be to the everyday mesh of liberating art, humorous camaraderie and hazardous political reality. Dennis Bovell’s reggae soundtrack...is a master class of mood — a sonic heartbeat full of joy, pain and fury, the needle drops like matches struck and the music an insistent, scented flame you hear, see and feel."
"Like the reggae music that pulses through it, Babylon is rich, rough and real. And like the street life of the young black Londoners it portrays, it's threatening, touching, violent and funny. This one seems to explode in the gut with a powerful mix of pain and pleasure."
"Invaluable. Spills over with killer reggae on its soundtrack. Nearly four decades after its Cannes premiere, the pic is finally getting US distribution... it deserves a robust welcome."
"Babylon does more than borrow the music, fashion, or world view of reggae. It embodies the ethos of the music—and it feels like a song, swaying from a clever joke to fire and brimstone, conveying a message less through language than through the passage of sound waves through bodies. "
"A STORY WITH LITERALLY EPIC STAKES. It's no surprise why the film may resonate now—its themes of finding community through art and trying to exist in a society that doesn't want you are unfortunately both timeless and extremely current."?
"Babylon is a British cult classic [with an] irresistibly danceable dub soundtrack...a beautiful time capsule that shines a light on the vibrant underground culture that existed in early 80s south London."
"The 1980 cult classic considered by many to be the great U.K. reggae movie."
"Stands as a vivid time capsule of London’s then-burgeoning sound system culture and a call to arms for the disenfranchised during times of strife."
— Jordan Cronk, The Hollywood Reporter
"Franco Rosso’s reggae classic demands instant attention. [Brinsley] Forde is utterly magnetic."
— David Jenkins, Little White Lies
"A rich, gorgeously shot film. Today, with racially charged nationalism once again on the rise, normalized by certain world leaders...Babylon's message is, sadly, no less relevant now than it was four decades ago. Fortunately, this time around, that message isn't so easily suppressed."
— David Alm, Forbes
"Babylon has too much to say about keeping your head up when everyone wants to grind your face into the pavement—and to say it with so much heart—to be left in the rubbish bin of history."
— Cosmo Bjorkenheim, Screen Slate
"Babylon maintains a vibrant sense of life that cannot and will not be destroyed by hate. Babylon is a hidden gem worth seeking out if it comes to your city. Pulsating with lively music and righteous anger, in a world that remains far too resistant to multiculturalism, it provides an uncomfortably vivid reminder that still we have not come far enough."
— Lee Jutton, Film Inquiry
"The lead performances are so genuine and the dialogue, with tones ranging from unbridled glee to utter hatred, is so pure that you think at times that you’re watching a documentary. Babylon is a vivid story that offers no clear villains or angels. Instead, it gives you the truth."
— Candice Frederick, The Wrap
"[A] transfixing independent triumph. The reason you can’t look away and do not want to from Babylon is how fully engrossing each and every scene is throughout. It must be experienced to fully comprehend, and come away with the undeniable truth: Franco Rosso’s Babylon is an exemplary example of how to craft an honest film that speaks volumes in a subtle way that audiences will resonate with on multiple levels. I’ve come to equate Babylon to a movie held in a time capsule, to be shown to the world at the exact right moment. This is the moment in the United States."
— Kathryn Schroeder, Film Fracture
"Babylon is a pulsating document of a time and place as well as a piece of connective tissue from the past to the present. Its restoration and re-release are a boon both because of the film’s undeniable quality and because of its somehow still radical empathy."
— David Bax, Battleship Pretension
"Since its release in the UK in 1980, Babylon has only been available in the United States through poorly transferred versions with fuzzy visuals and muddied sound, where much of the patois is lost on American audiences due to lack of subtitling, but the recent restoration by Kino Lorber corrects all of these former shortcomings, so now, we can see Franco Rosso’s masterpiece for all that it was meant to be: an energetic, brutally honest, and again, uncompromised statement by Rosso on the treatment of West Indian immigrants in London during Thatcher-era England."
— Generoso Fierro, Ink 19
"The startling Babylon is a needed blast-from-the-past devoted to reggae life and longing as it reminds us collectively how a mere puff on a blunt cannot easily erase the cultural indignities that others bestow on one another systematically."
— Frank Ochieng, Screen Anarchy
"FEARLESS…loud and musical and cheerful and funny, and also tragic."
"SUPERB… TRUE, TOUGH, ELECTRICALLY ALIVE…one of the best British made films for years. Has more shock potential than five put together…it begs no sympathy, imports no glamour, but transfers to the screen with powerful rough-edged vigor a picture that has never really been seen before."
"Babylon perfectly evokes the growing racial tensions-and intense feelings of doom-of inner city London life during the late 70s/early 80s that ultimately culminated in the fiery Brixton riots. Highly recommended."
Interested in bringing Babylon to your school or library? If you'd like to have an in-class viewing, on-campus screening, or purchase the DVD for your library's collection, please contact Estelle Grosso at EDU@kinolorber.com or call (212) 629-6880 with your request.
Babylon may also be available with Public Performance Rights (PPR) and Digital Site Licensing (DSL) for colleges and universities. To purchase the DVD with PPR or DSL, please contact Estelle Grosso at EDU@kinolorber.com or call (212) 629-6880. Click here to learn more at Kino Lorber Edu.
|Northwest Film Forum||Seattle||WA||1578027600January 3 - January 5, 2020|
|Metrograph||New York||NY||1573362000November 10, 2019|
|Cinema Arts Centre||Huntington||NY||1573275600November 9, 2019|
|Metrograph||New York||NY||1573275600November 9, 2019|
|Indiana University Cinema||Bloomington||IN||1573189200November 8, 2019|
|Suns Cinema||Washington||DC||1566360000August 21, 2019|
|Martha's Vineyard Film Society||Vineyard Haven||MA||15660144008/17, 8/20|
|Little Art - Rockport||Rockport||MA||1565236800August 8 - August 11, 2019|
|Museum of Fine Arts, Houston||Houston||TX||15647184008/2, 8/9|
|Amherst Cinema||Amherst||MA||1563940800July 24, 2019|
|Ryder Film Series||Bloomington||IN||15635952007/20-21, 7/27-28, 8/4|
|Detroit Institute of Arts||Detroit||MI||1563508800July 19 - July 21, 2019|
|Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema virtual screening room||Toronto||ON||1562990400July 13, 2019|
|Vancouver International Film Centre||Vancouver||BC||1562904000July 12 - July 18, 2019|
|The Broad Theater||New Orleans||LA||1562904000July 12 - July 18, 2019|
|Landmark Midtown Art Cinema||Atlanta||GA||1561694400June 28 - July 4, 2019|
|Trylon Cinema||Minneapolis||MN||1561089600June 21 - June 23, 2019|
|Enzian Theatre||Maitland||FL||1560744000June 17, 2019|
|Oklahoma City Museum of Art||Oklahoma City||OK||1560484800June 14, 2019|
|Water's Edge||Provincetown||MA||15603984006/13, 6/15|
|Nowadays||Ridgewood||NY||1560312000June 12, 2019|
|Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers||Yonkers||NY||1560052800June 9, 2019|
|AFI Silver Theatre||Silver Spring||MD||1559966400June 8, 2019|
|Wexner Center for the Arts||Columbus||OH||1559880000June 7 - June 8, 2019|
|Plaza Theatre - Calgary||Calgary||AB||1559793600June 6, 2019|
|Mayfair||Ottawa||ON||1559707200June 5 - June 6, 2019|
|Alamo Drafthouse Ashburn||Ashburn||VA||1559707200June 5, 2019|
|Texas Theatre||Dallas||TX||1559188800May 30, 2019|
|Hollywood Theatre||Portland||OR||15589296005/27, 6/2|
|Media Arts Center San Diego / Digital Gym||San Diego||CA||1558670400May 24 - May 30, 2019|
|Northwest Film Center||Portland||OR||1558670400May 24 - May 26, 2019|
|Museum of Fine Arts, Boston||Boston||MA||1558497600May 22 - May 31, 2019|
|Grand Cinema Tacoma||Tacoma||WA||1557806400May 14, 2019|
|International House||Philadelphia||PA||1557547200May 11, 2019|
|Harris Theater||Pittsburgh||PA||1557460800May 10 - May 12, 2019|
|Guild Cinema||Albuquerque||NM||1557201600May 7 - May 10, 2019|
|Vermont International Film Festival||Burlington||VT||1557028800May 5, 2019|
|Alamo Drafthouse New Mission||San Francisco||CA||1556856000May 3 - May 15, 2019|
|Honolulu Museum of Art||Honolulu||HI||15568560005/3-4, 5/7-8|
|The Music Hall||Portsmouth||NH||15568560005/3, 5/9|
|Downtown Independent Theatre||Los Angeles||CA||15567696005/2, 5/6, 5/7, 5/9, 5/10|
|Time & Space Limited||Hudson||NY||155676960005/2-5, 5/11-13|
|Cleveland Cinematheque||Cleveland||OH||1556769600May 2 - May 3, 2019|
|Filmfest DC||Washington||DC||1556424000April 28 - April 29, 2019|
|Speed Art Museum||Louisville||KY||1556164800April 25, 2019|
|Cinestudio||Hartford||CT||1555819200April 21 - April 24, 2019|
|Frida Cinema||Santa Ana||CA||1555646400April 19 - April 25, 2019|
|Gene Siskel Film Center||Chicago||IL||1555646400April 19 - April 25, 2019|
|Carolina Theatre - Durham||Durham||NC||1555646400April 19 - April 21, 2019|
|SIFF Cinema||Seattle||WA||1555646400April 19 - April 21, 2019|
|The Miniplex at Richards' Goat Tavern & Tea Room||Arcata||CA||15554736004/17, 4/19-22|
|O Cinema Miami Beach||Miami Beach||FL||1555041600April 12 - April 18, 2019|
|Museum of the Moving Image||Astoria||NY||1555041600April 12 - April 21, 2019|
|Roxy Hotel Cinema||New York||NY||1555041600April 12 - April 13, 2019|
|University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Union Theatre)||Milwaukee||WI||1555041600April 12 - April 13, 2019|
|Indie Memphis||Memphis||TN||1554868800April 10, 2019|
|Acme Screening Room||Lambertville||NJ||15544368004/5, 4/13, 4/21|
|BAM Rose Cinemas||Brooklyn||NY||1554436800April 5 - April 10, 2019|
|Palace Theater - Chattanooga||Chattanooga||TN||15544368004/5, 4/7|
|Austin Film Society||Austin||TX||1554350400April 4 - April 12, 2019|
|Apohadion Theater||Portland||ME||1554177600April 2 - April 3, 2019|
|Martha's Vineyard Film Society||Vineyard Haven||MA||1554004800March 31, 2019|
|Coolidge Corner Theatre||Brookline||MA||1553832000March 29 - April 4, 2019|
|Parkway Theatre||Baltimore||MD||1553832000March 29 - April 4, 2019|
|Ragtag Cinema||Columbia||MO||15538320003/29-4/4, 4/10|
|Belcourt Theatre||Nashville||TN||15534864003/25-26, 3/28|
|Charles Theatre||Baltimore||MD||1553227200March 22 - March 28, 2019|
|Laemmle Glendale||Glendale||CA||1552622400March 15 - March 28, 2019|
|Laemmle Monica Film Center||Los Angeles||CA||1552622400March 15 - March 21, 2019|
|Nitehawk Cinema||Brooklyn||NY||1552622400March 15 - March 21, 2019|
|Kew Gardens Cinemas||Kew Gardens||NY||1552622400March 15 - March 21, 2019|
|IFC Center||New York||NY||1552622400March 15 - March 21, 2019|
|AMC Magic Johnson Harlem 9||New York||NY||1552622400March 15 - March 21, 2019|
|BAM Rose Cinemas||Brooklyn||NY||1552021200March 8 - March 21, 2019|
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