The New Babylon

(Novyi Vavilon)

BAMPFA Collection

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.


  • Grigori Kozintsev
  • Leonid Trauberg
  • Andrei Moskvin
  • E. Mikhailov
Print Info
  • B&W
  • Digital
  • Silent
  • 85 mins

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Soviet salute (article), Village Voice, Elliott Stein, 1995

The new Babylon (review), East Bay Express, Kelly Vance, 1995

When communism was in flower (review), Village Voice, J. Hoberman, 1983

Soviet silent pic 'Babylon' N.Y. Fest closer a la 'Nappy' (article), Variety, 1983

Celebrating Grigori Kozintsev (program note), Film Society of Lincoln Center, Nicholas Elliott

Kozintsev and Trauberg: the tempo of the revolution (program note), Pacific Film Archive

Displaying 6 of 6 publicly available documents.

View all The New Babylon documentation on CineFiles.