Fire in Babylon (2011)

Fire in Babylon (2011)

A stirring portrait of Caribbean pride told through the rise of the West Indies cricket team

6.9

Movie

United Kingdom, United States of America
English
Documentary, Family
2010
STEVAN RILEY
Bunny Wailer, Clive Lloyd, Colin Croft
83 min

What it's about

Feature documentary about the great West Indies cricket team of the 1970s and '80s. Fire In Babylon is the breathtaking story of how the West Indies triumphed over its colonial masters through the achievements of one of the most gifted teams in sporting history. In a turbulent era of apartheid in South Africa, race riots in England and civil unrest in the Caribbean, the West Indian cricketers, led by the enigmatic Viv Richards, struck a defiant blow at the forces of white prejudice worldwide. Their undisputed skill, combined with a fearless spirit, allowed them to dominate the genteel game at the highest level, replaying it on their own terms. This is their story, told in their own words.

The take

It might not teach you the basics of cricket but Fire in Babylon uses the sport as an entertaining entry point into the discrimination faced by Caribbean peoples around the 1970s. The footage we see of actual cricket games is kept to the simplest elements, but what ultimately leaves a stronger impression are the lively testimonials from the documentary's many talking heads, injecting this historical account with a generous amount of personality. From the hip West Indian soundtrack to the unabashed pride that fuels every anecdote, this feels like a film that's genuinely being told by its characters, and not from an outsider's point of view.

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