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London: The Modern Babylon [DVD]

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Directors: Julien Temple
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 29 Oct. 2012
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008YWBQQ8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,416 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

London: A Modern Babylon
a film by Julien Temple

London:The Modern Babylon is legendary director Julien Temple's epic time-travelling voyage to the heart of his hometown.

From musicians, writers and artists to dangerous thinkers, political radicals and above all ordinary people, this is the story of London's immigrants and bohemians and how together they changed the city forever. Reaching back to London at the start of the 20th century, the story unfolds through film archive and the voices of Londoners past and present, powered by the popular music from across the century. It ends in 2012, as London prepares to welcome the world as it hosts the Olympics

'Its collage technique, humanism and sympathy for ordinary people has much in common with the vision of Britain created by Danny Boyle's team for the opening of the Olympics...A movie to Cherish' Philip French, The Observer

Special features

  • Audio commentary by director Julien Temple
  • Interview with Julien Temple
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Fully illustrated booklet with film notes and credits

UK | 2012 | black & white, and colour | English with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 128 minutes | DVD9 | PAL | Original aspect ratio 1.78:1 | Dolby Digital 5.1 surround (320kbps) | Region 2 DVD

Review

'An astonishing film...a rousing, powerful portrait of a city' --Dave Colhoun, Time Out

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
An absolute gem and a moving tribute to one of the world's great cities. A film that is being enjoyed by festival audiences around the world. I sat through a screening at Festival do Rio, and it left the audience in Rio spellbound. DVD will allow us to find many of Mr Temple's hidden London gems. Also look for the director's "Requiem for Detroit".
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I've always found that Julien Temple's rock documentaries (particularly 'The Future Is Unwritten' about Joe Strummer and 'Oil City Confidential' about Dr Feelgood) were somewhat spoiled by his obsession with illustrating every single phrase in the script with an archive or musical clip - it was basic showing off, but it barred the viewer from using his/her own imagination.

However, in this amazing collage of London through the last century and up to the present day, this use of clips and music gives the film amazing colour, drive and intensity - and the clips are actually assembled in historical order so that they serve the narrative. There is an incredible archive and historical knowledge on display. The director's always had good musical taste in my book, but he has tended to favour a few chosen, London-based artists. However, even his obsession with Ray Davies seems to fit well in this film.

There is not a dull moment, and this is is the documentary that should have been shown at the 2012 Opening Ceremony!
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An uplifting and well explored documentary of the diversity within London. An excellent argument against those who are too ready to accept this government's argument against immigration. To truly gain a balanced, evidenced, researched understanding of London as a cosmopolitan city, see this documentary. It will enrich your view and endear you to the people who make up the spirit of London
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Saw this at a BFI showing and just had to own it! The film excerpts are wonderful and the accompanying music is great. I f you love London this is an inspiring journey. Have just bought a copy to send to my daughter in New Zealand remind her of her roots.
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Whilst the 1 star reviewer appears to have got themselves in a bit of a twist about this film having a covert political mission (tosh!!) they did comment on the editing ........ in fact, if you are an avid viewer of documentaries about London c.early C20th and to-date you will recognise elements from other documentaries and archive material. Having said that the film works and if 2hrs is too long for you at one sittng then simply pause half way and return later .......... it is worth it. Enjoy.
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I bought this for my husband and it is amazing. A wonderful history of London over the last 100-ish years through old and new film footage, personal recollections and great music.
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Was lent this by a 70 year old ex inhabitant of Shoreditch & Hackney who knows more about London than anyone I know. He raved about it but mentioned that it was 2 hours long & needed to be watched in one sitting.So I prevaricated & put off watching until he asked for it back. Last night, with the pubs packed with amateur drinkers (& MOTD showing West Ham being beaten :-/ ) I gave it one last go. 128 minutes later (which incidently shot by) I again drew breath. Moving combination of images, interviews, news clips & above all music; the other reviewers comment more eloquently than I could ever do but one practical tip could be to watch the trailer on You Tube which gives a minute long taster. The DVD goes back to the 70 year old today with an appreciative pint & I've just ordered 4 copies. So thank you "Chicken" Tim & Julien Temple.
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Format: DVD
I generally agree with most of the positive reviews here so I won't reiterate what others have stated. But I do have a couple others items to mention.

My only real issue with the film itself is that all of these wonderful actors were hired to do voiceovers, but no onscreen credit is given whilst they're speaking so you never know who it is. This could easily be done with a quick graphic. I saw a Rolling Stones doco recently that did just that and it worked beautifully (when a new voice began, a quick hand-scrawled "signature" appeared onscreen so you knew who was speaking).

Conversely, the subtitles add another dimension in that they not only credit the song and the artist whenever there's music (which is often), but they actually subtitle the lyrics -- unless there's a narration over the song, then the dialogue is subtitled instead, understandably. So it's worth turning them on if you want that extra bit of info. The accompanying booklet is also very nicely done and adds to the educational value of the package as a whole.

The only other thing I want to mention relates to the Amazon description. It lists an audio commentary by Julien Temple as one of the extras and there is none. There is the short interview as mentioned, but no commentary option on the DVD.
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