As the 2010 Seattle International Film Festival screening audience exited "Stilyagi," ("Hipsters") they all had huge grins on their faces. (I first filed this in June, 2010 and it is just now - late 2011 - being released in the U.S.)

This is a rarity: A Russian musical! (English captions) At the screening Director Valeriy Todorovskiy told us, "at least when I die I can say I have directed ONE musical!" A woman in the audience had been a 20 year old in Moscow during the early 1950s and she told him he got the period and the people's attitudes exactly right.

Apparently at that time some of the Russians in their late teens/early twenties wanted to be like Americans...or at least the way they THOUGHT Americans were. They combed their hair into high pompadours, wore brightly colored clothes, lots of makeup, and danced wildly to Rock and Roll. Naturally the Establishment (Communist) was highly critical. In fact, one of my favorite numbers was a denunciation scene in a classroom setting; I found it a treat to the eye, loved the unique choreography, and the song advanced the story perfectly.

It was fun to recognize one of the streets (photography was negotiated after grueling sessions with the Powers-That-Be in Moscow) which was vacated for a single four-hour period. Three different scenes had to be shot in lightening quick succession while the street was empty. What a feat!

This is a musical, so it's boy meets girl, boy loses girl...oh, you know... There is plenty of music, plenty of humor and even a sweaty body or two... I came out with a huge grin on my face. Spacibo!

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This preview is from the SIFF promo:
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