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Review - Film - It's totally wicket

Fire In Babylon

Director: Stevan Riley.

Starring: Viv Richards, Ian Botham, Colin Croft

Out now on DVD

Cert: 12

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5

Fire In Babylon is a documentary about what the West Indies cricket team went through in the 1970s and early '80s, including their wins and losses in cricket tournaments with countries such as Australia and England. They also battled through a time of racism.

The documentary was directed and written by Stevan Riley, alongside the producers John Battsek, Ben Elliot and Ben Goldsmith. It also shows appearances by famous West Indies cricket players such as Viv Richards, Colin Croft and Michael Holding.

The best part about Fire In Babylon is that the producers and directors not only created it to educate people about cricket itself, but it also teaches you about what the West Indies cricket team and Caribbean people suffered - for example, pain, racism and occasionally defeat.

The documentary has some of the best footage of when the West Indies won tournaments with Australia. It also includes interviews with the most famous cricket players who played for the West Indies, such as Viv Richards, who was the team captain at one time.

I would say that you would most enjoy this film if you were the type of person who liked cricket or wanted to know more about the West Indies cricket team.

Dan Davies, 14, Sir William Stanier School, Crewe

Rating:4 OUT OF 5

Fire in Babylon opened my eyes to the problems faced by the West Indies cricket team a couple of decades ago.

Although I am not a big fan of cricket, the documentary made me want to get more involved in the sport. It showed me how cricket, like many other sports, is more than a sport to certain communities as it can join society together.

I found it inspirational as the players progressed and faced up to discrimination. I was particularly impressed by the boycott of the tournament in South Africa, which most of the team took part in as a form of protest against apartheid. I thought this was strong and moving because they were putting their morals before their careers.

Myles Howard, 16, Hampstead School, London

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5

A documentary about cricket? You must be joking. This was the thought that first crossed my mind. I later found out that it was shared by my Filmclub members: we just don't have a clue about cricket and our lack of interest in this sport is one thing we have in common.

I am Spanish. We don't have cricket in Spain - well, not to my knowledge. So I didn't know what to expect from the film. To my surprise, I loved it. I didn't know the strong connection cricket has to the soul and spirit of the West Indies and the important role this sport has in West Indian culture; how this amazing team of extremely fit players had such a global impact on equality and civil rights.

The fact that I don't know anything about this part of the West Indies (and British) history might not surprise you, but how could such a cultural gem have become lost in time for my students?

The film was witty, funny and intense. In under two hours this documentary managed to convert us to cricket.

Katherine Leon, Filmclub leader, Hampstead School, London

Filmclub, an educational charity supported by Lovefilm, sets up after-school clubs where children meet to watch, discuss and review thought-provoking films. Each week members of Filmclub will review everything from new releases to classic and world cinema. Free to state schools. Find out more at www.filmclub.orgregister


Pupil review


Director: James Whale

Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff

Out now on DVD

Cert: PG

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5

This film is a classic. Whenever you see Boris Karloff's prosthetically-enhanced face you know that it is Frankenstein.

James Whale's film proves that you don't need special effects or fancy stunts to convey a real sense of terror: none of these things were used in the making of Frankenstein, but it is still entertaining.

This was the first film to show a child's death on screen (it caused much controversy at the time), and that scene is still chilling to this day. The story of Frankenstein is ingenious and you feel sorry for the monster as he must try to keep away from those who misunderstand him.

Overall, I think that, even though this is a film that some may say has not aged well, it is still a film to watch before you die (and then come back to life).

Bob Wigin, 13, Hove Park School and Sixth Form Centre, East Sussex.

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