London: The Modern Babylon is director Julien Temple’s epic time-travelling voyage to the heart of his hometown.
From artists to dangerous thinkers, political radicals and above all ordinary people, this is the story of London’s immigrants, its bohemians and how they changed the city forever.
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Temple's talents as a music video director are evident in spades in this musically supported visual montage spanning 100 years in the life of London, a city that now boasts 270 different cultures. Temple says, "Let the images hypnotize you and speak for themselves," finding order in the chaos of oppression, rioting, renewal, and unity as repeated throughout history.
Brilliant, awe-inspiring, romantic, an incredible swoop of footage that cuts through London lives past and present, and its many sub cultures (though all Asian Britons seem to get from the archives is a scene about strict parents - thanks Julien!). A long musical collage, but Temple is one of the few who can do that format right.
It is both a social history and statement of modern London. Film and music libraries have been impressively researched and the editing of the many different segments is seamless and often entertainingly done.
I couldn't do it, i just couldn't do it - I was done after 7 minutes - it was clear to see the path tempel was going down from the offset - social commentary voiced by sub par narration in dispersed with geeky faux punk pseudo anarchist jokes. The sound mixage was terrible. julian temple manages to destroy several senses all at once. Image and sound that exist alone and deserve a second chance.
Too fast cutting for my taste, but lots of fascinating clips. I have lived in London and always had a love/hate relationship to the city. It could be cold, impersonal, full of chain cafes and annoying yuppies, but it also had the nice pubs, great cinemas, the feeling of never being boring and total freedom.