The release of Franco Rosso’s Babylon in the US earlier this year triggered a series of memories for me of cinema in the UK in the 80s. The film received rave review in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The LA Times and elsewhere. They spoke of it not only as a piece of compelling entertainment but also as a social and political document, as relevant today as it was four decades ago. British reviewers and critics have chosen to ignore the phenomenon.
For a time now, the term ‘social realism’ as applied to British cinema has been one of dismissal or even contempt. It was just about OK if you added a prefix of ‘poetic’ or ‘neo’ before ‘realism’ – or, of course, if the film was foreign. We seem too caught up with stories of murderous psychotics and their multi-various and exotic ways of slaughter, and endless series of the lives of our dysfunctional Royals Through The Ages.
Meanwhile Babylon and much else is falling apart.…
The British Film Institute Southbank is screening:
Dir Horace Ove
Friday 19 July 2019 18.10
Intro by Dr Elizabeth M Wiliams
Goldsmiths University of London
Dir Franco Rosso
Friday 19 July 2019 20.50
Intro from Filmmaker Mamoun Hassan