Babylon

Set in Brixton (which is to London what Harlem is to New York City), starring Rasta singer Brinsley Forde (the frontman of reggae band Aswad), and cowritten by Martin Stallman (who also wrote 1979 UK cult favorite Quadrophenia), Babylon is a feature-length outing about black life, black music, and black struggles in early 1980s Britain. The economy is in the toilet, Margaret Thatcher has begun her assault on labor, and city after city is becoming what the Specials classically described as "a ghost town." The film is simply amazing. Every minute is rich with cultural information of a period and milieu that's rarely seen on film. Babylon also has a dub score that's dark, crackly, and deep. Those echoes, those old Brixton buildings, the dreads, the factory smoke, the street markets, the old ladies, the thick accents—all of this and more is just utterly wonderful.

by Charles Mudede
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Credits
Director
Franco Rosso
Cast
Brinsley Forde, Karl Howman, Trevor Laird