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Babylon [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
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on 17 July 2017
While there seems little to add to the discussions regarding the film ,I think for those who saw this on a rare ch4 showing or have a copy from vhs it can be recommended for the stunning improvements in visual clarity,depth and colour range(& sound).Seen now in its intended ratio with these improvements the film in no way now looks 'low budget'.The extras are a worthwhile commentary and a Q&A following a screening,both of which feature the director,producer many of the actors & others who brought film to the screen & DVD.There is an interesting item about the restoration of the film & it also has optional subtitles( reading some previous reviews I would recommend for those not familiar with Jamaican style patois).Also included is a well designed booklet that has plenty of info + some good pics. If you've seen this before you'll know,& for those who haven't seen it, take a musical & social trip back to the London of 1980 & see what you think.
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on 16 November 2017
This came on London Live the other day and I recognised clips of it from Klashnekoff's Sagas album, I always wondered what film he had taken the snippets from. I love seeing the old sights of SE London where my family are from and I think some of Brixton. Also seeing the young Aswad, Jah Shaka and other faces. A good film. Had to get get the DVD.
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on 3 September 2016
gd movie i watched this last week on London Live. and i enjoyed it so much that i had 2 go out an buy the dvd. got a q&a with the actors talkin about the film and a restoration featurette.
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on 16 April 2017
Seen many times. The only sad thing is this version has bits missing which I saw on another version. It still does not spoil the enjoyment.
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on 28 October 2017
Another excellent reggae film with a sad ending.
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on 26 June 2017
It's ok enjoyable to watch
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on 9 January 2018
Decent enough watch. Don’t come across this dvd often.
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on 19 July 2017
Good old days
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on 25 June 2015
Reminds me of back in the day in the late 80s early 90s scene .Good movie
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VINE VOICEon 2 November 2008
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"Babylon" was part of a spate of movies made in the late 1970's and early 1980's which tried to put music on the big screen, making something to appeal to young people and also portray something contemporary. Whilst "Quadrophenia" seemed oddly dated and "Breaking Glass" a little cliched, "Babylon" manages to pull off most of its ambitions as this most welcome release on DVD testifies.

The film follows the fortunes of Blue - played by Brinsley Forde, the lead singer of Aswad who was a child star of the TV series "The Double Deckers" for those with a long enough memory - and his friends who are the Ital Lion soundsystem. The film documents the time up to a big soundclash between the Lion soundsystem and their rivals the Jah Shaka system - featuring DJ Jah Shaka himself. As events unfold Blue's life slowly hits a downward spiral.

Whilst, at times, the events of Blue's descent seem a little predictable this doesn't detract and is a minor criticism of what is a well paced, decently acted and well shot film. It is fascinating to see London, chiefly Lewisham, in such a deshevelled state. There is a lot of rubble and a grey hue to the place which suits the mood well. Support comes from a varitey of young black talent much of which has gone on to become fixtures on British TV.

Despite the tight budget this film has many highlights. It tackles the issue of racism unflinchingly and the scenes of abuse and brutality have a shocking power which still seems relevant today. The racism here is open, almost brazen, and one still feels uncomfortable watching it.

The other star of the show is the music which picks a few reggae gems and has a great original soundtrack composed by Dennis Bovell - surely one of the most unheralded sonic pioneers of his generation. It capturing the moment when dub started to head towards the electronic and it is a treat from the first rhythm to the last rumbling reverb.

Cited by serious minded critics as one of the best British films of the 80's this DVD gives the chance to see for yourself. Although not utterly perfect this is a fine film and the only real pity is that it didn't open the floodgates for more films like this. You can judge for yourself, but I'm siding with the critics in welcoming back this forgotten gem of a film.
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