A film of sheer sound and fury, the uncompromising subject matter (it all but anticipates the race riots that engulfed inner cities soon after release) and classic reggae soundtrack helped cement Babylon’s reputation as one of the most powerful and historically significant documents about the black British experience ever made.
Babylon stands up today as a well crafted, convincingly acted, hard hitting piece of realistic drama. Babylon is a potent mix of music and social commentary. Franco Rosso’s incendiary drama about black Britain circa 1980 stars Aswad lead singer Brinsley Forde as Blue, the Ital Lion sound system MC who finds his lifestyle and culture under siege. Here, for the first time in British cinema, is a portrayal of British reggae culture and Rastafarianism at odds with the ‘multi-racist’ society and state.

“Babylon stars Brinsley Forde, the lead singer of Aswad as “Blue.” Martin Stellman (Quadrophenia) co-wrote the screenplay with director Franco Rosso. The soundtrack was scored by Slits producer Dennis Bovell and featured music by Aswad (their killer “Warrior Charge” number), Yabby U, I Roy, Michael Prophet and others. Babylon was shot by Oscar winning cinematographer Chris Menges (The Mission; The Killing Fields).

Babylon is a real treat and considered a classic today. The soundclash scene with Jah Shaka near the film’s end is just a flat-out great piece of film-making. Babylon was difficult to see until it was released on DVD in 2008, but it’s made a strong comeback since then, with prestigious screenings and a BBC broadcast as part of the “Reggae Britannia” season.

Certainly it’s a unique film, the only one of its kind to examine the harsh life of Jamaican immigrants in London during that time. Babylon represents the first time in UK cinema where British reggae culture and Rastafarianism were explored in a non-documentary. Director Rosso was raised in South London himself and knew exactly where to find visually arresting backdrops of urban decay in Brixton and Deptford.” – via Exile On Moan Street

2 Responses to “Babylon”
  1. Norm says:

    been wanting to see this….thanks for posting

  2. eclecticsunshinedoll says:

    beautiful! always a good choice

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