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.
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.