Tag Archives: Joel Garner

Cricket – When the Windies hit the world for six

Over and out: demon bowler Joel Garner on the attack in 'Fire in Babylon'

Over and out: demon bowler Joel Garner on the attack in 'Fire in Babylon'

Cricket – When the Windies hit the world for six – A new film recalls the glory days of West Indian cricket. Geoffrey Macnab is bowled over by a remarkable sporting story.

The best sports documentaries invariably transcend their subject matter. Leon Gast’s When We Were Kings (1996) and John Dower’s Thriller in Manila (2008) aren’t just about two of Muhammad Ali’s best known fights.

They’re stories about race, politics, commerce, endurance, bitterness and the human capacity for both grace and violence.

By the same token, Fire in Babylon, premiering in the London Film Festival tonight, is much more than a cricket film. Stevan Riley’s remarkable documentary tells the story of the all-conquering West Indies cricket team of the 1970s and early 1980s. This was the team of Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards – and also of several of the most lethal fast bowlers of the modern cricket era. The documentary gives the lie to the idea that there have never been any decent films about cricket. You don’t need to know anything about the game to appreciate what Riley is telling us about West Indian national pride and English colonial bad faith.

The narrative trajectory is straightforward enough. The West Indies team used to be dismissed as “calypso cricketers”. They had players of great talent but did not win consistently. In 1975/76, they were humiliated 5-1 in a Test series against an Australian side containing the ferocious fast bowlers Jeff Thompson and Dennis Lillee. Their attitude, in the wake of this defeat, was “never again”. The West Indies players were part of a generation determined to prove themselves against their former colonial masters. This was the era of Black Power and African liberation. When the English captain of the era, Tony Greig, infamously boasted in 1976 that he would make the West Indies “grovel,” they made him eat his words.  ………… more

Read the full article here: When the Windies hit the World for six

Read a film review here: http://www.sawfnews.com/Entertainment/65507.aspx

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