Coming at the end of the silent-film era, Grigori Kozyntsev and Leonid Trauberg's Novj Vavilon became buried in the Western rush to sound. Kozyntsev and Trauberg employ impressionistic cutting and metaphoric compositions to depict the times of the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune of 1870-1871. Centered upon a Paris department store and the struggling French army, there is a constant contrast of emphasis between the capitalism functionaries at the department store and the soldiers at the barricades. Pyotr Sobolevsky plays Jean, a French soldier, trying to hold back the Germans and support the Commune. Meanwhile, on the sidelines, portly bourgeoisie sit on their haunches at Versailles, guzzle wine, and scream, "Kill them! Kill them!" whether the victims be German or communist.
by Paul Brenner synopsis