The New Babylon
BAMPFA Collection Print
One of the finest achievements of the Soviet silent period.Ian Christie
Elena Kuzmina, Pyotr Sobolevsky, David Gutman, Sophie Magarill,
We present The New Babylon with Dmitri Shostakovich’s original symphonic score for the silent film. Originally banned for its excess and aestheticism, this energetic avant-garde extravaganza represents a culmination of the experimental Factory of the Eccentric Actor (FEKS), founded by directors Kozintsev and Trauberg. Set in the 1871 Paris Commune and centered around a posh department store modeled after that found in Emile Zola’s novel Au bonheur des dames, the film focuses on a shopgirl (Elena Kuzmina) and a heroic young soldier. The inspiration for the photography came from the Impressionists—Monet, Degas, Renoir—and there are some magnificent scenes shot in fog, shadow, and moonlight.