London - The Modern Babylon

Director Julien Temple
United Kingdom / 128 min. / 2012 / English

Armed with humanism, Temple manages to condense the essence of the vortex of the world: London. He remixes its mish-mash: cockneys and lords, suffragettes and punks, anarchist Jews and dances, from the Victorian times to the disturbances of 2011. Unbeatable. 


By courtesy of IDFA. Special screening before the European Premiere at IDFA


Armed with humanism, Temple manages to condense the essence of the world’s vortex, London, by remixing its mish-mash. The frenetic opening collage reveals the sheer quantity of players, ideas, sounds, languages and cults about to spill forth: cockneys and lords, anarchist Jews, Acid House, Sex Pistols, revolts, monarchy, Muslims, Pakistanis, carnival, rockers, Jamaicans, Churchill, football... For over two hours, Julien Temple applies his marvellous explanatory collage style to charter from the Victorian era to the 2011 disturbances. The result is, of course, unbeatable. A titanic endeavour that succeeds in synthesizing the soul of a changing city. This 21st Century Babylon is cast with X-Ray Spex and images of suffragettes; the East End, engine of the empire, echoes with the sounds of The Small Faces; the First World War; Mosley, the fascists and the Cable Street battle; fornication and frolicking during the Blitz; and the arrival of the first immigrants. And much more. Brimming with original footage and contagious sympathy for the working class, London: The Modern Babylon is one of the director’s best-made and most memorable pieces.


Film web

Showing format


in festivals

Michael Gambon, Hetty Bower , Miss Marsh, Malcolm McLaren

Julien Temple

Caroline Richards

Steve Organ

Stephen Malit, Julien Temple, Amanda Temple, George Hencken

Film company

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With the Collaboration:

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