The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival


A humorous but heavy film that has rarely been screened in America, Franco Rosso’s reggae-thumping, socially incendiary 1980 filmBabylon – heralded as“One of the Best Reggae Films Ever” by Pitchfork – finally hits U.S. screens in a brand new remaster, and comes to The Frida Cinema April 19 – 25!

Babylon follows the story of David, aka “Blue” (Brindsley Forde), a young man of Jamaican descent living in Brixton in 1980, as he hangs out with his friends around South London, fronts a dub sound system at night, works as a mechanic by day, and has his friendships tested by racism. One day, Blue gets unjustly beaten up and charged by the police, forcing him to go on the run. It is a pioneering feature for its unapologetic but sympathetic portrait of marginalized youth, and it is said to be the earliest black performance featured on British TV.

Remastered and released by studio Kino Lorber Repertory and Seventy-Seven, co-writer and director Franco Rosso’s fiercely raw and controversial film, laced with brutally realistic style and notoriously challenging dialogue, was made on a shoestring budget by Rosso and his group of friends.  Experience this landmark independent film on the big screen at The Frida!

“An entertaining and culturally significant film that exposes much more than the world of reggae dancehall. It’s a fitting companion piece to Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.” – Joe Friar, The Victoria Advocate

“A cinematic shot of energy that combines a proto-stoner comedy, a gritty musical, and a nihilistic call-to-arms into an excoriation of Thatcher-era racism and poverty.” – Daniel Barnes, Dare Daniel

“Babylon is rich, rough, and real. And like the streetlife of the young black Londoners it portrays, it’s threatening, touching, violent, and funny.” – Variety Staff, Variety