Kino Lorber has announced the Aug. 20 Blu-ray and DVD release of Babylon, about a young reggae deejay in Margaret Thatcher-era Great Britain who pursues his musical ambitions, battling against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police and the National Front.
From director Franco Bosso, Babylon had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980 but went unreleased in the United States due to its controversial plot that critics feared could cause racial tension.
The Blu-ray Disc has a suggested retail price of $29.95, while the DVD is priced at $19.95.
Both disc editions come with such bonus features as audio commentary with director Rosso, screenwriter Martin Stellman, actor Brinsley Forde (the frontman of British group Aswad, who plays the deejay) and producer Gavrik Losey; a booklet essay by music journalist Mike Rubin; Dread Beat and Blood (1979), a short documentary on “dub poet” Linton Kwesi Johnson directed by Rosso; the music video for Vivien Goldman’s “Launderette,” starring actor Archie Pool from Babylon; new interviews with Brinsley Forde and Dennis Bovell; brand-new subtitles (preserving the nuances of the Jamaican patois and the cockney slang); a restoration featurette; and Q&A with cast and crew recorded at the BFI Southbank in 2008.
Babylon had its U.S. theatrical premiere in March 2019 from Kino Lorber and Seventy-Seven, a new boutique film label. Opening to positive reviews at BAM in New York and Laemmle Glendale in Los Angeles, Babylon went on to a five-month, 60-plus-city theatrical run with engagements in such key markets as Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Nashville, Boston, Portland, Atlanta, Miami, Vancouver, Toronto and others.
Written by Martin Stellman (Quadrophenia) and shot by two-time Oscar winner Chris Menges (The Killing Fields), Babylon boasts a soundtrack featuring Aswad, Johnny Clarke, and more, anchored by legendary producer Dennis Bovell’s (The Slits) atmospheric score.