Babylon’s U.S. release, 40 years later


Many thanks to Peter Jordens for sharing Jaya Saxena’s article “Babylon is finally getting a proper US release,” published in GQ last month. Saxena writes, “almost 40 years later, the rated-X film is still relevant.” Franco Rosso’s film hit New York City screens yesterday (March 8) and will be screened in select theaters across the country later this spring.

The trailer for Franco Rosso’s Babylon is certainly designed to titillate. “Rated X in the UK” and “Never released in the US” flash across the screen, immediately raising the question “why?” Babylon, which premiered at Cannes in 1980, was kept from US markets because it was deemed too controversial for its depictions of state-sponsored racism and xenophobia. Surprise, those things haven’t gone away in the past 40 years! So, are we ready now?

Co-written by Martin Stellman (Quadrophenia), the movie follows a Black British working class reggae musician, played by Brinsley Forde, the frontman of Aswad, as he navigates his craft in a racist society. Stellman reportedly found inspiration in The Warriors, which itself was based on Anabasis, so expect a story with literally epic stakes. It’s no surprise why the film may resonate now–its themes of finding community through art and trying to exist in a society that doesn’t want you are unfortunately both timeless and extremely current. Babylon will be released on March 8 at BAM in New York, and across the US later this spring.

For original article, see

Also see ‘Cult 1980 British reggae film “Babylon” to get first ever US release’ by
Jeremy Kay (Screen Daily); see and previous post

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