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About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


The year is 1955, and in Communist Russia , it is considered a subversive act to wear bright and stylish clothes. Valeriy Todorovskiy’s candy-colored musical Hipsters (Stilyag) follows a merry band of youth who just want to have fun.
The skies are grey, the people are dour (and dressed in grey), but one small, seemingly carefree group of friends have illicit underground parties where they drink, smoke, listen to jazz, dance the jitterbug, and dress like Americans do. Bouffanthair-dos, petti-skirts, snazzy ties.

They are really something. They are also persecuted. The film opens when a communist youth group, armed with hatred and sharp scissors, raids a hipster party. The film's hero Mels (Anton Shagin) belong to this youth group, but taken by the vision of beautiful Polly (Oksana Akinshina), he switches sides.

One brief flirtation with Polly and that's it for Mels. He buys a pink and green blazer on the black market, gets dance lessons from a friend, and before long, he is playing the saxaphone. He loses the S and becomes Mel. Mel loves the hipsters scene, but more importantly, he is in love.

Polly is certainly one to fall in love with. Oksana Akinshina made a heartbreaking debut in Lukas Moodyson's tragic Lilya 4-Ever (2002), playing a Russian sixteen-year-old girl who is kidnapped in Sweden and forced into prostitution. In the years that have passed, Akinshina has gotten only more beautiful.

Despite some genuine violence with scissors and a few too many song and dance numbers, Hipsters is a charming, funny and thoughtful movie. Mels becomes a hipster because he wants color in his life -- fun and love and music -- but sadness chases him nonetheless. The choices he makes, in light of adversity, are almost heroic. And funny, and charming.

Hipsters (2011)

Starring: Anton Shagin, Oksana Akinshina, Sergei Garmash, Alexii Gorbunov, Leonid Yarmolnik
Directed by: Valery Todorovsky
Produced by: Valery Todorovsky, Leonid Yarmolnik, Leonid Lebedev
Genres: Art/Foreign, Musical/Performing Arts and Romance Running Time: 2 hrs. 5 min.
More About Lilya 4-Ever

From the same imagination that brought one of the world's best feel-good movies Together to the big screen comes Lilya 4-Ever, one of the world's most depressing movies. Set in a suburb in an undisclosed area of the former Soviet Union, the movie chronicles three months in the life of 16-year-old Lilya.

From the time Lilya's no-goodnik mother abandons her to the lonely trip to Sweden, the film is relentlessly heartbreaking. Oksana Akinshina as Lilya and Artiom Bogucharskij as the homeless Volodya give flawless performances full of unrealized dreams and pain. In fact, it's Lilya's dreams of a better life that fuel the film, giving it both sadness and hope. You can't help wanting something good to happen to her all the while knowing nothing will.

Read the entire review.

More About Together4-Ever

Ikea. ABBA. Pippi Longstocking. Tuborg. Lego. Welcome to Sweden.

Pippi Longstocking, Capitalist Pig?

Now meet Goran, the cheerful peacenik, his controlling girlfriend Lena, and the members of their commune: cynical Lasse, his newly converted lesbian ex-wife Anna, their war-games deprived son Tet, Lasse's wanna-be lover Klas with the helmet haircut, the bitter class-warrior Erik and the earnest eco-freaks Signe and Sigvard, who are joined by Goran's sister Elisabeth, the suburban housewife on the run from her drunkard husband Rolf with her sullen children Stefan and Eva, who befriend the lonely neighborhood boy Fredrik.

Got that?

Read the fullreview.

  1. About.com
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  3. World / Independent Film
  4. Foreign Film
  5. Eastern Europe
  6. Eastern European Films
  7. Hipsters - A review of Valeriy Todorovskiy’s Hipsters

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