Centers around some jazz-loving, quiff-sporting rebels-with-cause living in Moscow in the 1950s.

A peculiar variation on the run of Soviet-era nostalgia pics coming out of Russia lately, helmer Valery Todorovsky’s period-set musical “Hipsters” centers around some jazz-loving, quiff-sporting rebels-with-cause living in Moscow in the 1950s. Although a massive hit at home, taking approximately $16 million at the wickets, this great-looking but tonally uneven pic won’t jive with auds quite so well anywhere else, although fests may take a look for curiosity value.

Straight-laced young Communist Mels (Anton Shagin) risks expulsion from the Party and worse when he falls in with a crowd of flashily dressed hipsters. After a brief courtship, he hooks up with gorgeous Polly (Oksana Akinshina, “Lilya 4-Ever”), but storm clouds threaten the blue skies of their love as friends gradually leave the country, get arrested or discover that jazz is no longer cool in the West. The musical sequences where characters sing straight-to-camera are slickly choreographed, but would work better if the songs themselves weren’t such feeble pastiches. Still, given the pic’s handsome cast and pro production values, especially in the lensing department, it’s no surprise this has done as well as it has domestically — alongside an aggressive marketing campaign.

Hipsters

Russia

Production

A Red Arrow, TV Channel Russia presentation with the support of the Russian Federal Agency of Culture and Cinematography of a Racoon Cinema production. (International sales: Central Partnership, Moscow.) Produced by Elena Glikman, Vadim Goryainov, Leonid Lebedev, Ilya Neretin, Valery Todorovsky, Leonid Yarmolnik. Executive producers, Maxim Koropstov, Elena Kozhanova, Ilya Neretin. Directed by Valery Todorovsky. Screenplay, Yuri Korotkov.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Roman Vasyanov; editor, Alexei Dobrov; music, Konstantin Meladze, Todorovsky; production designer, Vladimir Gudlin; costume designer, Alexander Osipov. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 17, 2009. Original title: Stilyagi. Russian dialogue. Running time: 135 MIN.

With

Anton Shagin, Oksana Akinshina, Evgeniya Khirivskaya, Maxim Matveev, Igor Voynarovsky, Sergey Garmash, Konstantin Belakirev, Alexander Stefantsov.

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