While the Cold War heats up on the world stage, rebellious youth in 1955 Moscow wage a cultural battle against dismal Soviet conformity, donning brightly colored black-market clothing, adopting American nicknames and reveling in forbidden jazz. Straight-laced 20-year-old Communist Mels finds these brazen 'hipsters' shocking until he falls under the spell of one, namely Polly, and joins the new revolution. Soon he's a peacock, cavorting in the latest flashy fashions, sporting an enormous pompadour and wailing on the saxophone.Written by
On 24 December 2008, one day before the official theatrical release, an exhibition called "Vremya stilyag" ("The Time of Hipsters") opened in Moscow as part of the film's promotion campaign. Admission was free. The exhibition was divided into two parts with a very large board made of iron. On the one side were 'artifacts' pertaining to the age of Soviet hipsters, such as anti-hipster articles and caricatures from the Soviet press, old TV set called KVN, rarity radio gramophones, a round advertising column etc. as well as costumes from the film, while the other side represented America of the early and mid-20th century, "the world of Soviet hipsters' dreams", featuring, for example, rare photos of Grace Kelly and Charlie Parker. There were over 150 exhibits in total, taken from private collections or provided by the Russian State Library. The exhibition lasted until mid-January 2009. See more »
I don't want to be different
Because I don't imagine being better than others
You're not better, you're not worse. You're just different! Do you understand?
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The theatrical version was cut by ca. 12 minutes of more "dramatic" scenes. These scenes were restored for the DVD version and include:
A scene at the beginning where a sick patient is examined by Bob, who then uses his X-ray picture to create a bootleg LP.
Bob's arrest by the NKVD (predecessors of KGB) as he tries to buy jazz albums from an American.
The visit of Polza's mother at Mels' father, where she starts a fight with Polza.
Youth Culture Killed My Dog--And I Don't Think Its Fair...
OK Russian Musical (!!!) has a lot going for it in well done musical numbers and dance sequences, what it doesn't quite have is a story that's especially satisfying. There's some good ideas for a story--a college age guy chafing under late 50's era Russian rule (these would be the post Stalin pre Cuban Missile Crisis Kruchev days??? yes not exactly carefree days but maybe as carefree as life under communist dictatorship got for those folks living there.) He starts out with a job and a potential love interest spying and of course then chasing after (the better to attempt to arrest them of course) rebellious American Culture Loving Jazz Worshiping Beatniks, and of course thanks to his attraction to a swell lookin blond dame decides to join em much to everyone's concern (with the exception of his dad who just doesn't seem all that concerned with his son being rounded up and being tossed into a secret prison--oh wait those days are behind them now--or are they i honestly don't know--because without spoiling anything--something happens to one of the characters at the end that never gets resolved and leaves me wondering--wait what?) Back to the movie! Will the jilted former love interest be jealous of this new blond dame? Will she do something to try and win the now pompadour spouting hunk back? I'll never tell, but you can probably guess. All that aside, this movie is really about the music and how the rebelliousness of the youths there mirrored the rebelliousness of ours here in the USA--blah, blah, blah, enough with the youth culture lesson, let's dance! (and they do!) Movie very, very much resembles 1993's "Swing Kids" with Christian Bale--only instead of German youths and swing--its Russian teens and Jazz--but you know that shouldn't really matter since i think the effort is there--you'll have a pretty good time watching the brightly colored kidz sing and dance, and some of the retro set design mimicking 50's American nightclub culture is nicely flashy. However its just as easy to forget as soon as you leave the theater--or as soon as you finish watching the DVD, which is just something one should never have to say about a Russian Musical heralding American pop culture, however i'm betting the DVD'll be good for a rewatch or 2 if you really dig the movie, or at least the closing number--Shine On You Crazy Kidz With Your Renegade Youth Culture Ways.
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