Franco Rosso's Babylon
Never-before released in the U.S., Franco Rosso's BABYLON had its world premiere at Cannes in 1980 but was deemed "too controversial, and likely to incite racial tension" (Vivien Goldman, TIME OUT) by the New York Film Festival that same year. Raw and smoldering, it follows a young reggae DJ (Brinsley Forde, frontman of landmark British group Aswad) in Thatcher-era Brixton as he pursues his musical ambitions, while battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front.
With THE WARRIORS as an inspiration, BABYLON was co-written by Martin Stellman (QUADROPHENIA) and shot by two-time Oscar winner Chris Menges (THE KILLING FIELDS) with beautiful, smoky cinematography that's been compared to TAXI DRIVER. It's fearless and unsentimental, yet tempered by the hazy bliss of the dancehall set to a blistering reggae, dub, 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.
"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." — Robert Abele, The Los Angeles Times
"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." — Variety
"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." — John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
"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. " — Hua Hsu, The New Yorker
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