‘Babylon’ premieres: ‘Yardie’ begins BAM Reel Caribbean Series

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A report by Vinette K.Pryce for Caribbean Life News.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Brooklyn Academy of Music will spotlight more than a few fine films that feature factual and fictitious aspects of Caribbean life. From Haiti, Antigua, Guyana, Dominica, Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom and Jamaica, vintage and new documentaries provide celluloid testimony to the diversity of the tropical landscape located south of the border.

The county platform proudly announced this year’s Caribbean Film Series that will showcase four days of fun-filled hot and saucy treats to delight audiences from March 14 to 17.

Prior to the series, a film first released in 1980 from the UK launches “Babylon” on March 7.

Banned here since its release then by the New York Film Festival for being too controversial and even described to be too “inciteful,” in Europe, the telling film was critiqued by The London Times as “One of the best British made films for years.”

“It begs no sympathy, imports no glamour, but transfers to the screen with powerful rough-edged vigor a picture that has never really been seen before.”

The one-night screening will also feature a bonus after-screening dialogue discussion with Brinsley Forde, the film’s lead actor and Dennis Bovell, the film musical arranger.

Neither are strangers to New York audiences.

Forde has made numerous appearances fronting the hit British, reggae trio known as Aswad. Along with his colleagues Forde performed at the Brooklyn Museum during the West Indian American Day Carnival Association’s pre-Labor Day festivities and other venues. Throughout the decades the British / pop / reggae assembly gained a superlative reputation winning accolades for delivering conscious commentary about Black life in England. In promotion of their numerous albums, the group with Forde toured Africa and the world vocalizing a myriad of tracks and most distinctly the US crossover hit “Don’t Turn Around” and “Babylon.”

For the first time in the USA his performance in the film he stars titled “Babylon” is finally getting an American outing.

Music from the soundtrack has been critically acclaimed for its hypnotic, unprecedented and infectious beats and rhymes.

Anchored by the artistry of Dennis Bovell, a musician renowned here for backing dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, the film gifts a multiplicity of creative talent. Both Forde and Bovell will be present for the question and answer session following a 95-minute screening.

While “Babylon” promises an insightful sneak peek to the series, opening night debuts “Yardie” the long-awaited film directed by actor Idris Elba. Slated to premiere throughout the USA March 15, BAM gets first dibs with a March 14 showing to kick-off their 5th annual Caribbean Film Series. Making his directorial debut, Elba’s 2018 film is an adaptation of Victor Headley’s novel of the same name set in 70s Kingston, Jamaica and 80s London, England.

Once again reggae music accentuates the dramatic storyline by adding Grace Jones, Yellowman, Michigan & Smiley, Skip Marley and others to set each scene.

The Closing Night selection presents Khalik Allah’s transcendent documentary portrait of Jamaica in “Black Mother” (2018). Allah is expected to be in attendance at the screening.

Other films include “Panorama” about the Trinidad and Tobago festivity which annually unites steel band pannists throughout the world. The film will spotlight Brooklyn musicians.

Guyana’s offering includes “The Terror & The Time” and “In The Sky’s Wild Noise.”

Haitian filmmaker and actress Gessica Généus’ documentary on mental illness is also slated.

For more details log onto www.bam.org

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