• Featured_exhib_film_may19_babylon




Friday May 03 07:30 PM
Saturday May 04 04:00 PM
Tuesday May 07 07:30 PM
Wednesday May 08 07:30 PM


Doris Duke Theatre


Museum members: $10.00
General Admission: $12.00


About the Film:

Directed by Franco Rosso. UK. 1981. 95 min.

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 (writer of 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.

"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 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

"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

"Reggae music and soundsystem culture are Babylon’s anchor. Babylon is most assuredly a window into a moment in time. Had it not generated such a cult following, we might have missed the lessons it has to offer all these years later."
— Grace Shutti, Afropunk


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