Fire in Babylon

I’ve just come home from the World Premiere of a new documentary about cricket, Fire In Babylon.

It should be noted that I wasn’t invited as some sort of viral thing, but that I bought a ticket to a film and the showing I went to happened to be a world premiere.  I did weasel my way into the after party though. Whisky cocktails aren’t to be shitted at.

The film was good too.

Really good.

It was political, crickety, had a kick ass soundtrack and vision of Rodney Hogg hitting Viv Richards.

It is essentially a love letter to the great West Indies team of the 70s and 80s.

Told in their words, the players tell you how they were racially abused by aussie crowds, racially profiled by the English media, willing to kill a few Indians, and all that other good stuff while they show more short balls that hit people than I might have seen in the last 10 years combined.

The film is not perfect.

It skips over several cool things like Wes Hall, Frank Worrell, when they used spinners to bore people, white captains and even George Headley.

It is amazing to see a film about West Indies cricket that Garfield Sobers is no more than a whisper in.

Even Malcolm Marshall is largely ignored as the film stops in 1984.

But what I like about it the most is that it is just about one period in cricket.

Too many cricket films try and cover too much, this limits it self to one period.

I might have done it slightly differently and used the 60/61 tour as a building block to the mid 70s, but this still worked.

It’s also important to note that this was a film made by a fan of the 80s windies and not a cricket fan.

That isn’t a flaw, but a different take on what most cricket nerds (and there were plenty of us in discussion afterwards) would have made.

This is cricket’s answer to When we were kings, and while it wasn’t as good, it was still a top cricket documentary.

The two reasons to see this film to me are that Don Bradman’s name is never uttered and that Bunny Wailer is in it.

Plus, the combination of lots of men getting hit and Andy Roberts oneliners is worth a ticket alone.

I found it quite inspiring, and hopefully the good reviews mean that others can make similar documentaries, and by others, I mean me.

If you’re in London, the film’s second showing still has tickets.

As for a general release in other places, they still haven’t sold it, so I have no idea.

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11 thoughts on “Fire in Babylon

  1. Nick says:

    i really want to see this movie but i dont think im gonna get chance. Its sad to see what happend to WI team. More then players, its WICB isto be blamed. Cricket use to be #1 sport in WI back in the days but noone cares about it now days. In next 10 years, there will be no mor cricket in that part of the word. B/w Jrod here is a video for you, im sure you gonna like it haha

  2. Deep Cower says:

    You should make a cricket themed movie. It will probably be the only sports movie that is “unsuitable for younger audiences, viewer discretion advised”.

    • jrod says:

      DC, all part of the plan. The film, not the crashing.

      Sunny, There was a complete lack of honey mentions in the film.

      Alok, If you have the cash I am sure I could get you in touch with the producers.

  3. Deep Cower says:

    On an unrelated note, your site keeps crashing my firefox.

  4. Alok says:

    Jrod please please use all your Dark Arts of the Media and convince them to sell the rights to this in India… preferably to me.

    I can already see the long lines of middle aged men queuing up to see repeated footage of English and Australian batsmen getting hit in the face… (of course they’ll also wince at the Indians being hit, but I guess you can’t have everything). Maybe, just maybe, enough of their kids will go back to the nets and want to do that to more batsmen, and we just, just might end up with the greatest bowling attack ever…

  5. Sunny says:

    did they sweeten their juice with honey in those days or is it just DJ sammy?

  6. Can we even imagine….those guys, every time they stepped out on the cricket field in that era – they could be killed…no wonder their reflexes were at the sharpest…the next ball could turn out to be fatal.

  7. Sunny says:

    @elegantstroke – off-topic but i won’t use the channel 9 commentary team as a standard either. with the exception of mark taylor and chappelli, the rest are a complete bore. slater is passable. lawry + benaud have long gone past their use by dates. mark nicholas is a complete joke. i find the fox sports combo of border and junior waugh passable. i usually mute the channel 9 commentary and listen to ABC radio grandstand with the irrepressible kerry o keefe. atleast this ashes there will be testmatchsofa.

    the best team was the channel 4 team in ashes 2005: athers, botham, nasser, gower, bumble with holding adding his touch of cool. the production values were top notch as well. i just don’t understand how clowns such as siva and arun lal have made it into the commentary booth. typical lowest common denominator junk from BCCI.

  8. I hope this clip is sold to ESPN. Longing to see some blood on the pitch.

    Btw, on an overseas flight, caught a nice Australian video on cricket showcasing some really good and important moments of cricket in Australia. Some of them were:

    1) The underarm incident.
    2) Ambrose balancing a cricket ball on his foot footie style.
    3) Dean Jones asking Ambrose to remove is wrist band and getting a bouncer in reply.
    4) Colin Miller showing some blue hair.
    5) Javed Miandad trying to take out Lillee’s head with a bat.
    6) Sir Aggy (His highness Agarkar) and his duck parade.
    7) Gavaskar walking off the field
    8) Simon Jones breaking his leg
    9) Merv Hughes
    10) Merv Hughes
    11) Merv Hughes

    Was wondering whether that video can be found online?

  9. Point No. 8 automatically became a smiley. Did not intend to express happiness over Mr. Jones’s plight.

  10. Alok says:

    I’ve got 30 bucks and two chewing gum wrappers on me right now…

    That should be enough right?

    I’ve never heard of documentary film makers making much money so I guess they should be happy with the wrappers as well…

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