London: The Modern Babylon


Julien Temple directs a poignant archive collage about the UK capital

Scoring a sizzling opening montage with The Clash’s ‘London Calling’ is just about the only obvious choice in Julien Temple’s scintillating study of the English capital.

Assembling a wealth of archive footage, Temple takes us from turn-of-the-century Imperialism via the Blitz and Swinging London to Thatcherism and the recent riots.

Provocative and poignant, energised by a terrific score and contributors ranging from Tony Benn to aged Hackney residents, it’s endlessly fascinating.

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, if you tire of this film, then you’re tired of life.

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