Grigori Kozintsev and Leonid TraubergUSSR76 minutes1929B&WSilent
Cinephiles, Shostakovich fans, and anyone with a taste for sheer extravagance must all make a date to see this, "one of the finest achievements of the Soviet silent period" (Ian Christie), which caused a sensation when it was presented on the international festival circuit in the early 1980s. A vivid, eye-filling spectacle of Paris at the time of the 1871 Commune, The New Babylon is a love story about a young woman who works at a lavish department store but is dedicated to the revolution, while her boyfriend from the country fights on the other side of the barricades as a government soldier. The film is presented in eight tableaux, each more astonishing than the last in their vast, surging vision of decadence and class warfare. Banned for its frivolity, excess and aestheticism, The New Babylon is "a masterpiece ... a steaming hot pot of startling images" (Elliot Stein, The Village Voice).