Babylon

Never-before released in North America, Franco Rosso's incendiary Babylon had its world premiere at Cannes in 1980 but was banned from the New York Film Festival... Read more


Babylon

Directed by Franco Rosso

Year: 1980
Running Time: 95
Color Type: Color
Language: English
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Babylon

Crew
Directed by Franco Rosso
Writers Franco Rosso and Martin Stellman


Never-before released in North America, Franco Rosso's incendiary Babylon had its world premiere at Cannes in 1980 but was banned from the New York Film Festival that same year for "being too controversial, and likely to incite racial tension" (Vivien Goldman, Time Out). Raw and smoldering, it follows a young dancehall DJ (Brinsley Forde, frontman of landmark British reggae group Aswad) in South London as he pursues his musical ambitions, battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front. Written by Martin Stellman (Quadrophenia) and shot by two-time Oscar® winner Chris Menges (The Killing Fields) with beautifully smoky cinematography that has been compared to Taxi DriverBabylon is fearless and unsentimental, yet tempered by the hazy bliss of the dancehall set to a blistering reggae and lovers rock soundtrack featuring Aswad, Johnny Clarke, Dennis Bovell, and more.
 
You've seen The Harder They Come, maybe you've seen Rockers, but you've never seen anything like Babylon.

 

Reviews

 
"An instant classic." 
- British Film Institute 
 
"Like the reggae music that pulses through it, Babylon is rich, rough and real."
- Variety
 
FIVE STARS. "One of the greatest British films."  
- Mojo 
 
"Babylon captures the zeitgeist of the era, avoiding the grip of nostalgia, instead providing a harrowing yet ultimately uplifting account of a cultural and spiritual triumph over the adversities of poverty and overt racism (institutional and physical) that were still so ingrained in Thatcher's England." 
- Electric Sheep 
 
"Fueled by a terrific dub soundtrack courtesy of (Dennis) Bovell and the amiable lead performance of (Brinsley) Forde."
- The Digital Fix
 
"A crucial piece of documentary evidence as to how Afro-Caribbean communities in London lived beneath the media radar. Arguably the film is made by (Chris) Menges's photography, from the Taxi Driver-jaded kitsch of the Soho arcade scenes to the roving camera of the sensitive engagement party scene, to a post-dance lilac dawn over Deptford set against a piss-darkened tower block walkway."
- The Independent
 
"Babylon was the first British non-documentary to centre on reggae...a unique musical time capsule."
- The Guardian
 
"The elusive, and only, feature film focusing on the sound system scene in West London."
- Wax Poetics 
 
"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."
- Dangerous Minds

PLAYDATES

Venue City Date
International House Philadelphia 1556164800April 25, 2019
Laemmle Glendale Glendale 1552622400March 15 - March 21, 2019
BAM Rose Cinemas Brooklyn 1552021200March 8 - March 14, 2019


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'@KinoLorber' on Jan. 22 2019 at 1:58pm
"The' @KLStudioClassic' Blu-ray of Desert Fury is a radiantly beautiful encoding of this odd Technicolor noir." –…' https://t.co/iNnBngPaih'
'@KinoLorber' on Jan. 22 2019 at 1:58pm
RT' @Slant_Magazine': "It’s through exercising a certain kind of madness that the film connects even at its most disjointed." Read' @samcmac's…'
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Huge congrats to' @talalderki' and the entire OF FATHERS AND SONS team! #OscarNoms' https://t.co/4nIhnPLRCQ'
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RT' @FilmLinc': Jean-Luc Godard's THE IMAGE BOOK, opening Friday, "indicates the lyrical and poetic potential of montage-based cinema," says…
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@YorkshireTX' @scott_tobias' About 15, many thanks to' @TheAcademy's' new Oscars Spotlight: Documentaries program. We h…' https://t.co/sDchN4UYe8'
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