Kino Eye: A film about the Paris Commune

Submitted by martin on 16 March, 2021 - 4:27 Author: John Cunningham
Louise in The New Babylon

Following the new issue of Women’s Fightback, it’s back to 1929 and a rare film about the 1871 Commune: The New Babylon by Soviet directors Grigori Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg with music by Dimitri Shostakovich. The title derives from the fictitious department store frequented by the Parisian bourgeoisie where Louise (Yelena Kuzmina) is a shop assistant.

The Franco-Prussian war ends disastrously for France, while the workers of Paris starve to death. They take control of the city and establish the Commune with Louise joining their ranks. She befriends a soldier, Jean (Pyotr Sobolevsky) but he refuses to join her and they end up on opposite sides of the barricades. The Communards are overwhelmed and Louise is shot by firing squad. Jean is horrified when he is assigned to dig her grave.

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