List Film

Babylon (4 stars)

(15) 95min (Icon DVD retail)



The long overdue DVD release of Franco Rosso’s seminal 1980 tale of working class black youths and their music in South London really is something to celebrate. A kind of reggae counterpart to Quadrophenia, Rosso’s naturalistic film details the shenanigans of mechanic and part-time sound system ‘Toaster’ Blue (Brinsley Forde) and his Ital Lion crew, who are looking forward to their forthcoming reggae sound clash competition with rival outfit Jah Shaka. But as the event approaches, Blue’s personal life begins to unravel with very public results.

Powered by a fantastic score, composed and arranged by legendary guitarist and record producer Dennis Bovell, with additional songs by Yabby U, I-Roy and Aswad, Babylon is a blinding neo-realist document from a time of incendiary, race relevant change. This DVD is pressed from a newly restored print of the film. Decent extras include commentaries from director and cast.


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