London: The Modern Babylon [DVD]
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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
- 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
'An astonishing film...a rousing, powerful portrait of a city' --Dave Colhoun, Time Out
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great documentary on the recent history of London and multiculturalism. I loved the old footage of the city I was born in and put into perspective the current xenophobia that... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mia Butler
Very sad and disappointed by this 'documentary'. My girlfriend is Polish and absolutely in love with London (more than I thought was possible) so this was an obvious choice for a... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Mr. C. R. Hill
Too frenetic, I want explanations of the fascinating footage not a pop video.Published 19 months ago by nickandsusie
Captivating from start to finish.
Made in the same style as Temple's other films eg Glastonbury, the film is a romping collage of images ranging from black & white... Read more
Brought as a gift, although it was on their wish not sure what they thought of itPublished 20 months ago by Sammy
This is great! I love London and found the DVD very informative and absorbing.Published 20 months ago by Cheryl Levett