I recently read in “The book of Kyiv”, the book that was published for Kyiv Biennial 2015 “The School of Kyiv”, an article about Babylon restaurant in House of Cinema and really wanted to go there. By excellent coincidence right now my friend from USA, who’s a director, visits Kyiv so I decided to take him to the place where Soviet directors were hanging out.
The House of Cinema was built in 1974 for people who worked in film industry. The House has interesting reliefs on the façade: a rocket tacking flight into the cosmos; banners under Verkhovna Rada; the construction of the Dnipro hydroelectric dam and so on. The book says that Babylon restaurant is famous for cooking a proper Chicken Kiev with a bone in it. Now it’s known for the annual DocuDays UA festival – the awesome Kyiv documentary film festival.
When we came we were told that there is a funeral banquet in the other room (which adds something to a general atmosphere lol). Then a slightly-drunk-man greeted us and asked us if we want to drink with him. We said “sure!” This slightly-drunk-man turned out to be a Soviet film producer who used to work with sci-fi and documentary, but now doesn’t have a job. He said that Babylon has a special film atmosphere and gives him nostalgia. He asked us if we work in film too, so I said that my friend is a director and I was a volunteer at film festivals for multiple times 🙂 After some stories about Soviet films, he told us that when he was young he was fighting at Afghanistan and he is still very depressed about it. After a long conversation he asked us to buy him another drink, so we did, and went to a concert.
Hand written vintage looking posters in the hall are actually new. For example one of it congratulates the director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy for receiving an award for his remarkable film The Tribe (2014) (btw I really recommend to watch it).
After the Babylon we went to a live ambient concert at National Historical Museum of Ukraine. I wanted to see Lyudska Podoba (I wrote about them here). It was really relaxing, we set in bag chairs and there were nice visuals.
Docudays UA festival – http://docudays.org.ua/
National Historical Museum of Ukraine – 2, Volodymyrska St.