Monday, 18 July 2011

Cricket legend Michael Holding opens 'Fire in Babylon' at ACMI

Fire in Babylon
Fire in Babylon

"Remarkable" - The Independent

"This one's a belter" - Screen International

"A riveting account of the glory days of West Indian cricket.joyous and uplifting." - The Telegraph (UK)

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) will present the Melbourne season of Fire in Babylon - an exuberant documentary charting the rise of one of the most successful sporting teams in history, the West Indian cricket team. The season, which opens at ACMI on 15 September, is preceded by preview screenings in August featuring an appearance by special guest champion fast-bowler Michael Holding.

After a series of humiliating defeats in the mid 1970s, the West Indian cricket team underwent an astonishing transformation from 'Calypso Cricketers' to an unbeatable force.

Against a backdrop of Caribbean civil unrest, apartheid-era South Africa and race riots in the UK, the team found inspiration from the Black Power movement and took their politics to the pitch.

Led by the great Clive Lloyd (and later the legendary Viv Richards), the 'Windies' assembled an explosive athletic attack on the pudgy colonial game and their former masters. With their "four horsemen of the apocalypse" (Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Colin Croft and Joel Garner) bowling at over 90mph, they utterly destroyed their opponents and changed the game forever.

The 'Windies' remain one of the world's most successful sporting team, winning test matches for fifteen years between 1980 and 1995.

Fire in Babylon also illustrates Australia's integral role in challenging the athleticism and skill required for test cricket champions. Led by Greg Chappell, the Australians unleashed a new brand of fast-bowler in Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thompson in a test match against the English in 1975, sending them ducking for cover. Having obliterated England with such lethal force, the Australians had put the West Indians on notice, forcing them to recruit and train to a level of athleticism not before seen in cricketers.

Intercutting exhilarating match footage from the 1970s and 1980s with contemporary interviews, UK director Stevan Riley expertly unfurls the politics, music and mantra behind these incredible individuals and their legendry defiance against oppression, racism and international equality.

"Fire in Babylon is more than a sporting film, greater than a historical document," says film programmer Kristy Matheson. "Riley doesn't just retell the events, he offers his subjects the scope to tell their story as they remember it, to relish in their political and physical accomplishments and the impact this had on their countrymen, the wider world and their sport. But more than that, films this inspiring and well-made serve to remind us of the power of the documentary genre."

Champion West Indian fast-bowler Michael Holding will make a special appearance at preview screenings at ACMI on Friday 26 August. At the 6.45pm session guests will be treated to an introduction and Q&A with Holding, who will also introduce the 9pm session that same evening. 

Fire in Babylon screens at ACMI from 15 September to 5 October 2011. For tickets and information, please visit: 

Rated: PG, Dir. Stevan Riley, 82 mins, UK, 2010, Digital Betacam. Source: Madman Entertainment. Courtesy: Madman Entertainment.

Fire in Babylon PG
Thu 15 Sep to Wed 5 Oct 2011 - see website for session times
Purchase online or at the box office on 03 8663 2583

Special Advance Screenings - featuring special guest Michael Holding
Friday 26 August 2011
Sessions  6.45pm (Introduction and Q&A with Michael Holding)
9pm (Introduction to the film by Michael Holding)
Purchase online or at the box office on 03 8663 2583


Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
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