This fine period musical dramatizes a subject both unique and distinguished: the movement of jazz fans (known as "Stilyagi") who flaunted their open-mindedness and fearlessly mocked Communist repression in 1955 Moscow. The central premise (which channels Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins' West Side Story) deals with a star-crossed romance between two lovers on opposite sides of the said fence: Mels (Anton Shagin) is a pro-communist Komsomol activist, Polly (Oksana Akinshina) is a sexy, uninhibited, free-spirited member of the Stilyagi; they fall instantly in love despite vast differences, and Polly turns her new paramour on to the many pleasures of the West, including jazz music. Significantly, although the real-life members of the Stilyagi experienced sad fates (such as imprisonment), this cinematic treatment of them exudes a bright and upbeat sensibility, marked by glossy musical numbers that are scattered throughout. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi
probably more entertaining to Russians than Americans, i'd guess, but not too bad. felt about 30 minutes too long though. reminds me of Steve Martin and Dan Akroyd's 'two wild and crazy guys' sketches on Saturday Nite Live, especially the background characters in those SNL skits. the things that they create (clothes, lyrics, behavior) which are their attempts at being both odd and cool, are too often just odd. makes me appreciate what American Beatniks did all the more. but in all fairness, it's a lot tougher to do something to a blank canvas that leaves it looking better after than before, than probably most of us realize.
We don't do many captioned movies as my gal finds it troublesome, still I had to look at this interesting Russian piece. I am always curious as to how other cultures are evolving. I'm 69 so I well remember the Soviets always depicted as a gray and brown culture. This was fun and refreshing.