You are currently viewing ‘Babylon’ Is For The Big Screen

‘Babylon’ Is For The Big Screen

DRUG-fuelled debauchery, striving starlets, legendary libertines and the disruptive transition from film’s silent era to the wonder of sound are at the centre of Damien Chazelle’s ‘Babylon’ (2022).

Starring Margot Robbie, Diego Calva and Brad Pitt as the next big thing, an ambitious Mexican studio executive and a top-billed screen star, Chazelle’s dark, chaotic love letter to the movies is a big screen window into the scene behind the scenes.

To begin, there is a Gatsby-worthy bacchanal. Cue elephant, mounds of cocaine, sweating jazz band, sexual deviance, overdosing starlet and a gorgeous lesbian cabaret singer crooning about her lover’s you-know-what.

Heavy on the spectacle as Chazelle introduces his ensemble of Nellie LaRoy (Robbie), Manny Torres (Calva) Jack Conrad (Pitt), jazz trumpeter Sidney Palmer (Jovan Adepo), singer and intertitle writer Lady Fay Zhu (Li Jun Li) and gossip columnist Elinor St John (Jean Smart), ‘Babylon’ begins with its stars just as bright as one would expect.

Over the next three hours of the film’s runtime, as the Hollywood machine grinds on, each loses some of their shine to debts, gambling, duty, homophobia, depression, irrelevance and love.

A film about the spectacular rise and descent of its intersecting characters as the movie world turns and demands more than what they bargained for, ‘Babylon’ is a cameo-strewn, ambitious but thinly plotted exploit elevated by excellent actors, heady cinematography, fabulous production design and Justin Hurwitz’ energetic score.

Referencing a number of films and Hollywood scandals, ‘Babylon’ is a self-referential and bittersweet big picture that seems to lament the move from silence to sound in the same way film purists push back on the rise of streaming as the culture and production of cinema falls into decline.

On the other hand, in ‘Babylon’, the advent of sound marks a new beginning for the underwritten Black jazz player and the American-Chinese writer and singer maybe in the way that modern technology, apps and YouTube has allowed queer creatives and artists of colour to showcase their talent and, to an extent, circumvent mostly white male entertainment industry gatekeeping.

In ‘Babylon’ which Chazelle both wrote and directed, one of the messages seems to be: Things change. The unadaptable struggle, the smart pivot and the shrewd survive. But film, perhaps above all things, ensures its stars’ immortality.

Want to win a movie ticket to see ‘Babylon’ (2022) or a movie of your choice at Ster-Kinekor? Simply answer the following question: In ‘Babylon’, what film era is coming to an end? Send your full name, cell-phone number and your answer to [email protected]

The winners of the previous competitions are Lusia Ngula and Wesley Beukes.

[email protected]; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram;

Source link