Franco Rosso’s Babylon is an unflinching depiction of friendship, and the
struggle to live – both simply and musically – in a racist environment.
Starring Brinsely Forde (vocalist of British reggae group Aswad) as a young musician and
frustrated mechanic, Babylon chronicles the everyday trials that Blue (Forde) and his friends
face as young men of Jamaican descent living in Thatcher-era Britain. They face the
xenophobia of neighbors, employers, and police while preparing for an important musical
competition. Shot by Oscar-winner Chris Menges (The Killing Fields), the film is full of stunning,
misty images of 1980’s South London, and its scenes are brilliantly punctuated by a soundtrack
of reggae greats. Ousted from the 1980 New York Film Festival, due to its frank take on
oppression and resentment, Babylon feels tragically contemporary.