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The New Babylon: The Soviet silent film classic with Shostakovich’s score

Fri, March 30, 2018 – 8:30 pm + Sat, March 31, 2018 – 2:00 pm

The New Babylon: The Soviet silent film classic with Shostakovich’s score

This astonishing culminating achievement of the Soviet silent film era is an historical epic both whimsical and tragic, set during the 1871 Paris Commune. It is the first of Shostakovich’s historic collaborations with filmmaker Grigori Kozintsev —a relationship ending with their epochal King Lear of 1971.

Kozintsev, together with Leonid Trauberg, aped the madcap pacing of the circus, the variety theater, and American movies, and Shostakovich followed suite… . When the Communards are killed by firing squad at the end, Shostakovich responds with a distorted version of the high-kicking can –can from Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld.

Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise

Related event:

Soviet film screenings at the National Gallery of Art on Saturday, March 10 & Sunday, March 11. Free admission.

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