Babylon Britain 1980/2020

Black Lives Matter 2020

The convulsions following the murder of George Floyd are a shock to America and to other countries world wide but the causes of this rage and anger are familiar and well known. Racism exists everywhere but its manifestation in the US is particularly vicious and deep-rooted in all sections of that society. The situation in the UK is not as encompassing, although some politicians and leaders feel no embarrassment or inhibition in expressing their violent prejudices and ignorance.

Babylon, Dir. Franco Rosso, UK, 1980

Forty years ago a group of filmmakers shared the experiences of mostly young black men in South London in the film Babylon. Babylon was the first film I backed as Managing Director of the National Finance Film Corporation. (In a previous role as  head of production at the British Film Institute I had backed two films on black life in the UK : Pressure  and Moon over the Alley)

US Cinema Release

Babylon was invited to the Cannes Film Festival and enthusiastically reviewed by all major British critics. It was also invited to the New York Film Festival, but then the invitation was withdrawn because of the fear that it might exacerbate racial tensions. However, it was released in 2019 in the US to amazing reviews in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the LA Times, Rolling Stone Magazine and elsewhere, treating it as though it were a current, not an archival, movie.
Movie Masterclass blog:
The edited montage above is part of a series I have commissioned Sherief Hassan and Anies Hassan to produce. The aim is to produce a pictorial CV of films that I have been involved with as Director, Producer, Screenwriter, Editor, Teacher and Film Executive. The Babylon sequence was edited by Anies Hassan.
Photograph: Babylon(1980), and ‘Black Lives Matter Protest Times Square New York City June 7 2020’ (Anthony Quintano), Flickr