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BABYLON XX

Director: IVAN MIKOLAICHUK

UKRAINE • 1979 • SUBTITLED • BLACK AND WHITE/COLOUR • 100 MIN


Best know in the West for playing the lead in Sergei Parajanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Ivan Mikolaichuk was also a very influential writer, director and producer who died in 1987 at the age of 47. He remains a cultural icon in Ukraine, and his house in Chortoyiya has been turned into a museum. He inspired other artists, actors, singers and writers who were searching for their Ukrainian identity in the Soviet era. Although not persecuted and imprisoned like director Parajanov, Mikolaichuk’s films were often controversial and sometimes suppressed by the Soviet authorities. Babylon-XX (aka Vavilon-XX) is Mikolaichuk’s prize-winning debut as a director and is rated as one of the best Ukrainian films of the late 1970s by those who have managed to see it. It’s set in the small town of Vavilon, where residents hear of the recent Russian Revolution. The rich people living in the town have no desire to become Communists, but the Red Army is finally sent in to put down their resistance.

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