Franco Rosso's 1979 film stars Aswad founder Brinsley Forde as disenfranchised DJ `Blue'. Poverty, institutionalised racism, violence and disaffection with life for a young black musician in the UK in the late 70s are the core themes of the movie, and Forde's assured acting supported by future `Brushstrokes' star Karl Howman and drug dealer Trevor Laird makes this a powerful film of its time as well as an important and timeless social comment.
There are some good DVD extras on here too; there is a Babylon commentary track featuring producer Gavrik Losey, lead actor Brinsley Forde, so-writer Martin Stellman and director Franco Rosso. Having this much aural input usually ends in chaos, but not here. With perfect manners and a delicate sensibility towards any suggestion of memory loss, they don't talk over each other and actually have an impressive amount of recollections considering so much time has passed since the film was made. Amongst other anecdotes we learn that although set in Brixton, most of the film was shot in Deptford and Lewisham.
It is an understatement to say that Babylon was before its time. Despite not being well received by a guilty and shamed society, the film did its part in helping Lord Scarman to stamp out police racism and sits proudly in the BFI's annals as a modern classic.