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Watch the Trailer for 'BABYLON'—the South London Film Finally Making Its U.S. Debut After 39 Years

The film made its world premiere at Cannes in 1980 but was "too controversial, likely to incite racial tension" for big screens in the States—until this week.

Just from watching the trailer alone, Babylon is a film that feels like it's come out of a time capsule.

Here's the synopsis:

Raw and smoldering, it follows a young dancehall DJ (Brinsley Forde, frontman of landmark British reggae group Aswad) in South London as he pursues his musical ambitions, battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front.

After the film made its mark at Cannes and Toronto in 1980—it oddly just went straight to VHS. Helmed by Italian-British director Franco Rosso, the New York Film Festival blocked the film from a U.S. theatrical run due to being "too controversial" and for the likelihood of it "inciting racial tension."


"You can think of Babylon as Juice (1992) transposed from George H.W. Bush's America to Thatcher-era Britain, from Harlem to Brixton. Instead of Tupac Shakur you have Brinsley Forde, instead of rap battles you have sound clashes.," Screen Slate explains.

Babylon is currently having its premiere run at Brooklyn's BAMcinematek, which wraps Thursday, March 21. The film then heads to California, screening at LAEMMLE Monica and LAEMMLE Glendale from Friday, March 15.

Check out the trailer and stills from the film below.

BABYLON • Official Trailer HD • Kino Lorber Repertory & Seventy-Seven youtu.be

Photo still courtesy of Kino Lorber Repertory.

Photo still courtesy of Kino Lorber Repertory.

Photo still courtesy of Kino Lorber Repertory.

8 South African Albums & EPs to Stream While Staying Home

Let these South African releases from Bongeziwe Mabandla, Shabaka and the Ancestors, King Monada and others hold you down during lockdown.

This month saw a number of releases from South African artists. While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken money away from a majority of artists, this could be the best time for listeners to go through the new music that was released.

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Image courtesy of ARRAY.

What to Watch at Home During Coronavirus Shutdown: ARRAY's New Digital African Film Series

The film platform, from director Ava DuVernay, is hosting a weekly movie-viewing experience for the "global online community of cinephiles."

If you're looking for African films to dive into while at home during the coronavirus outbreak, a new digital series from award-winning director Ava DuVernay's film collective ARRAY is a great place to start. The multi-media platform and arts collective is launching its #ARRAYMatinee series, and each film will be available for viewing here.

#ARRAYMatinee is a virtual movie-viewing experience that will screen a string of the collective's previously released independent films from Africa and the diaspora. The weekly series begins on Wednesday, April 1 with a viewing of the 2015 South African coming-of-age film Ayanda. "Viewers will take a cinematic journey to the international destinations and cultures featured in five films that were released via the ARRAY Releasing independent film distribution collective that amplifies that work of emerging filmmakers of color and women of all kinds," says the platform in a press release. To promote a communal viewing experience, viewers are also encouraged to have discussions on Twitter, using the hashtag #ARRAYMatinee.

The five-part series will run weekly until May 13, and also includes films from Liberia, Ghana, and Grenada. See the full viewing schedule below with descriptions from ARRAY, and visit ARRAY's site at the allotted times to watch.

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Image by Sabelo Mkhabela.

'If you have no savings you are screwed': South African Artists Call For Coronavirus Relief

South African artists take to social media to criticize the government's lack of plans during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

On Monday morning, a few ministers—including the minister of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa—asked South Africans on Twitter to partake in a #LockdowngymChallenge.

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