MVFF: Hipsters (B+)

Hipsters (Stilyagi — Russian for ‘stylish guy’) is a widescreen eye- and ear-candy Russian rock musical. The scene is 1955 repressive Moscow. By night, a group of young adults dresses up in outrageous clothes and acts out their vision of America: rock-and-roll, trendy cocktails, great dancing and (most notably) the clothes. Oh, the clothes. Imagine the brightest colors in the most clashing over-the-top style, filmed with a look that’s a cross between Kodachrome and full-saturation Technicolor. Sneak in a bit of classical Russian cinematography. (Remember those exaggerated closups in the Odessa Steps scene in Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin?) Then add an awesome mostly big-band soundtrack of bebop, boggie-woogie and rock. Maybe even a hint of rap in one late song. Throw in some great performances and beautiful young Russian women, and you start to get an image of what Hipsters is really like.

Hipsters deservedly won four Nika Awards (the Russian equivalent of our Academy Awards) for costume design, production design, sound and best picture. It was nominated for five more. We saw the U.S. premiere at a late-night screening. I don’t think there’s a U.S. distributor for this film yet, but hopefully it will get picked up so you’ll at least have a chance to see it in major cities. Highly recommended for a fun night out.

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