New Babylon, the last silent film directed by Grigori Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg, is a story of political compromise and personal pain during the Paris Commune of 1871.

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Alternative titles

  • NOVYI BABILON Alternative
  • NEW BABYLON Alternative


“Though each is brilliant individually, the images and music come together to reflect on each other, making it one of the highpoints of Soviet cinema.”
John Riley, Dmitri Shostakovich: A Life in Film, 2005

Shop assistant Louise (Elena Kuzmina) and her soldier-lover (real-life husband Piotr Sobolevsky) are separated by barricades, revolution and violence in this bitterly ironic and un-Soviet picture which depicts the radical political insurrection that overtook Paris in the spring of 1871. The final intertitle, ‘Vive la Commune’, was too sardonic for the studio and the film was re-edited.

New Babylon stands as a great achievement of Soviet cinema, featuring Dmitri Shostakovich’s first film score, full of riotous and brilliantly satirical inflections, and richly textured photography by Ivan Moskin.

Peter Watkins’ La Commune (Paris 1871) (2000) is an epic, documentary-style analysis of the uprising and its implications for modern-day France.

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