Taxi Blues is a ground-breaking Russian film, one of the first to examine the rifts between the old Soviet Union and the post-communist Russian society. The movie concerns the friendship of an independent, alcoholic Jewish jazz musician named Liocha (Piotr Nikolajevitch Mamonov) and Schlikov (Pyotr Zaitchenko) a stern, conservative cabdriver. After Liocha doesn't pay Schlikov for a fare one evening, the cab driver tracks the musician down and takes his saxophone as payment. Despite his initial treatment of Liocha, Schlikov becomes fascinated by the musician and offers him a bed in his apartment. Eventually, the two strike up a friendship and Liocha gets a job in the taxi depot in order to pay off his debt. However, their friendship turn sour when Schlikov's girlfriend becomes smitten with the musician and Liocha joins an American musician for a U.S. tour. When Liocha returns, rich and successful, he fights with his old friend, leading to a sorrowful conclusion. Taxi Blues received great critical acclaim and many awards, including director Pavel Lungin winning the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1990.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine synopsis