Thursday October 29th, 7pm
West Green Learning Centre
West Green Road (next to Downhills Park), London N15
Babylon + A Place in the City
Our next screening is on Thursday October 29th and it’s our contribution to Black History month. We will be showing two films – the 1980’s classic "Babylon" and A Place in the City , a film about Abahlali baseMjondolo, the South African Shack Dwellers movement. Jenny Morgan, the director of A Place in the City will be there to talk about the film and take questions. As ever the doors open at 7pm and films start around 7.15pm.
Films are shown at the West Green Learning Centre, West Green Road (next to Downhills Park), London N15
Buses: 41, 341, 67, 230
Nearest tube: Turnpike Lane or Seven Sisters tube
Cost – £3 or £2 for low/unwaged
Thursday 26th November: The Lives of Others
Thursday 17th December: Looking for Eric
Franco Rosso, 1980 (95 mins)
Before hip hop hit the UK, before we all waved our hands in the air (like we just don’t care) at raves and more significantly, before the Brixton riots, there was Babylon. Missing, presumed lost, the film has now been superbly restored and reissued, offering up an important document of the era, as well as being a cracking slice of 80s Brit cinema for anyone with a smallest interest in British street culture.
Babylon is primarily a tale of one man (Blue), but it’s also the tale of Brixton in the early 80s, specifically the story of second-generation black Londoners, stuck in an area of high unemployment, high crime and low investment. From the opening minutes, you can see the area crumbling in front of your eyes in just about every scene.
Unlike most films about reggae music and culture, Babylon doesn’t explore the sunny side of Jamaican life or West Indian gangland culture; instead, it looks at how the implicit radicalism of reggae mirrored political and social concerns in the urban areas outside Jamaica where the music was so enthusiastically embraced. Possibly one of the most important British films of the modern era and definitely one to make sure you see.
A Place in the City
Jenny Morgan, 2008 (30 mins)
Nearly 15 years since apartheid ended, millions of black South Africans still live in self-built shacks without sanitation, adequate water supplies, or electricity. But A Place in the City will overturn all your assumptions about slums and the people who live in them.
Shot in the vast shack settlements in and around Durban, members of Abahlali baseMjondolo, the grassroots shackdwellers movement, lay out their case against forcible eviction and for decent services. The film captures the horrible conditions in which shackdwellers live but it also captures Abahlali s bravery and resilience, in a political climate where grassroots campaigners like them are more likely to be met with rubber bullets than with offers to talk.
For the first time now , says S bu Zikode, an Abahlali member, poor people have started to speak for themselves. Now, that challenges those who are paid to think for us . Or does freedom in South Africa, asks Abahlali volunteer organiser Louisa Motha, only belong to the rich?