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Children of Babylon is a love story - and a lot more.
Children of Babylon is a tragedy - it is life
   

The Holy Bible speaks of a condemned city called Babylon. Indeed, Babylon has fallen but it still exists for many. Today, Babylon has no specific geographical boundaries but it is most evident in the developing Third World countries where there is a constant search for an alternative to their colonial past. 

 For some people, Jamaica is the classical example of Babylon. Jamaica is a cultural mosaic which just happens to be the home of the Rastaman, Reggae, Rum and Ganja. There are more important elements of the country which do not always attract the world-view but which continue to determine the lives of those who reside there.

  Children of Babylon is a film about people making love while searching for love. The vortex is Penny, a young university graduate student; Rick - an artist; Luke - a "dreadlocks" farmhand; Dorcas - the housekeeper and Laura - the wealthy American owner of the plantation and greathouse, which silently represents the proverbial "house divided against itself".

  The sexual interactions provide a replay of what historian Gordon Lewis describes as "the common eighteen-century sexual code". This code, says Lewis, is the practice of consensual cohabitation and extra-residential mating shared by both upper-class and working-class. But Children of Babylon is not eighteen-century love story - the lines are not as rigid, and variations on what Lewis wrote about can be easily seen on the New-Nation-States founded on the plantations of yesterday.

  The mating habits of the working-class provide a striking contrast to that of the upper and middle-classes. However, conflicts are inevitable when partners come from different sides of the class barriers.

  Children of Babylon is an epitaph for the more that 300 years of colonialism, with the plantation representing any former or existing colony.

  Laura is the absentee landlord who still controls the institutions which determine the lives of the people. Penny represents the overseers who have assumed the role of the bourgeoisie in the absence of the owners. The overseers administer the State and have the power to manipulate and use the masses. Rick, the mulatto, is a part of the nouveau riche who seek for all the material trappings of the "motherland". The lumpen proletariat is evidenced in Luke who parallels those field or yard slaves whose main ambition is survival at any cost. Dorcas is the house-slave who continues to live in the shadow of the glory but never ever sees the light.

  Children of Babylon is not just another pictorial essay about love and life in the Tropics. It is a timely social comment which illustrates the contradictions which arise in a society stratified by economic and class determinants.

 


historical perspective   |   cast   |   filmmakers