Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Fire in Babylon

I have never been a real fan of cricket, when I was growing up it was all about athletics, gymnastics and figure skating. In fact my only direct exposure to the sport was a few years ago when I attended a hospitality event in Manchester with a bunch of cricket stars such as Sir Viv Richards, Curtly Ambrose and Henry Olonga. It was a great day and I sort of got an idea of how massive cricket really is. I heard about Fire of Babylon a few weeks ago by chance through an email from a mate and the promo copy gave me an insight into what  it was about. Fire in Babylon captures the spirit of the West Indian cricket team and how their performances united countries from the West Indies and inspired them during traumatic times. The documentary features cricket super stars such as Viv Richards, Joel Garner, Clive Lloyd, Michael Holding and Colin Croft who made up what is now regarded as one of the best West Indies team the world has ever seen. Armed with lots of talent, determination and a hell of a load of pride, this team brought the world to its knees and a nation to its feet. This amazing team played during the era of the mid 70s and early 80s and experienced daunting times such as playing to an aggressive and racially abusive Australian team and audience. As well as a condescending and superior English team and public who deemed the West Indian players to be nothing more than clowns.

The gallant West Indian players rose to the occasion and gave both teams thrashings that they would never forget and as a result not only earned them the respect of the Australian and English players but their friendship as well. Ian Botham and Viv Richards went on to become great friends and many of the Australian players are still mates with that West Indian team. On top of this they were playing during the turbulent era of apartheid in South Africa; race riots in England and civil unrest in the Caribbean. They sure as hell kicked ass and turned cricket into a power sport. I loved watching this film because it really showed a beautiful side of cricket and I am a sucker for a good sport documentary and this one really lived up to the hype. I have always been fascinated by the run and jump that the players adopted when they approach the batsmen and this is shown in great detail with slow motion and still footage. The cinematography which is mostly taken from the 70s and 80s is magically remastered and set to an electric soundtrack which I just need to get my pretty hands on. The West Indian cricket team are interviewed and shared their experiences with us. Seriously, the 90 minutes went bit too quick and it left me wanting more. Stevan Riley does a thumping job and really conveys the feeling and deep emotion of that era. I am so getting this on DVD when it is released next week.

Check out the fabulous Fire in Babylon website.

Fire in Babylon is released on DVD on 6th June and you can get it from there outlets.

Check out a clip from the premiere in London with interviews from some of the cricket team and crew.

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