Department stores -- France -- Drama, France -- History -- 1870-1871 -- Drama, Franco-Prussian War, 1870-1871 -- Drama, Paris (France) -- History -- Commune, 1871 -- Drama

The New Babylon

(Novyi Vavilon)
(Shturm neba)

BAMPFA Collection

  • Lecture

    Anne Nesbet is an associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures and film and media at UC Berkeley.

  • Discussion

    Peter Bagrov is a film historian, curator, and archivist specializing in early Russian and Soviet cinema. He currently serves as vice president of the International Federation of Film Archives and until recently was the senior curator at Gosfilmofond of Russia.


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
  • Silent
  • Russian intertitles with English subtitles; with music track
Print Info
  • B&W
  • DCP
  • Silent
  • 85 mins

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View The New Babylon documents  

The new Babylon (program note), Film Society of Lincoln Center, 2003

Novij Vavilon (program note), Bologna Film Festival, Natalya Nussinova, 2000

Constructing a 'Novyj Vavilon' (interview), Cinegrafie, Natalya Nussinova, 1999

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

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

New Babylon (program), Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, 1990

New Babylon (flyer), Cleveland Museum of Art, 1989

The new Babylon (program note), San Francisco International Film Festival, 1984

The new Babylon, one of the masterpieces of the silent cinema, to be performed with its long-lost Shostakovich score (press release), San Francisco International Film Festival, 1984

The new Babylon (program note), San Francisco International Film Festival, 1984

Displaying 10 of 25 publicly available documents.

View all The New Babylon documentation on CineFiles.