Babylon

New York Times Critics' Pick
95 mins.
Directed by Franco Rosso
NR
1980

After the film, join us at Kaijū in Amherst for a night of reggae music spun by I-Ganic Sound System, Snack Attack, and DJ Trends!

Franco Rosso's incendiary BABYLON had its world premiere at Cannes in 1980 but went unreleased in the U.S. 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, Babylon 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.


"The film’s reggae culture makes it natural kin of Jamaican jams like ROCKERS and THE HARDER THEY COME. But BABYLON is a British movie about disaffected British people (disaffected British men), and, as such, seems just as seminal an entry in the English “angry young man” sweepstakes as the plays, novels and movies about alienation made in the 1960s." Wesley Morris. A New York Times Critic's Pick!


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