Hipsters: Approved by the Russian Minister of Culture… and BobGuy

25 03 2010

Hipsters (Stilyangi)

Rating: ★★★★

What should you do if you could get 10 years for playing the sax and your aunt was thrown in jail for hanging a picture of Stalin… facing the bathroom?  Become a hipster, of course!

Hipsters is an awesome film with great costume design and even better music… even though I had to read the lyrics.  I left the theater humming songs in my head in a slight daze of confusion when everyone wasn’t speaking Russian.  The satire of 1950′s Cold War Russia was a wild success in its home country and spurred a cult following of hipster parties.

The director, Valeriy Todorovskiy, successfully smashes vibrant color and energetic songs into the drab, monotonous 1950′s Communist Russian scene.  Many of the musical scenes were powerful.  One number depicts an old man returning from WWII to the depression and  so-called progress which he fought for.  I even found myself sympathizing with the Communist youth in a scene that could have been straight from Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  But just like many musicals, the plot line, though quite interesting, was a bit choppy and lacking.  And only in a musical can the main character, Mel (Anton Sagin),  learn to play the sax in one scene without a montage.

The film follows Mel’s pursuit of love with Polly (Elena Glikman) within the excitement of Russian counterculture.  Mel transforms from a hipster-hating “square” and card-carrying Communist (literally) into a full-blown, jazz loving, crazy dancing, pompadour-haired hipster.

Hipsters is a must see at CIFF ’10! Make sure to catch it this Friday and Saturday!!

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