Synopsis by Nathan Southern
This fine period musical dramatizes a subject both unique and distinguished: the movement of jazz fans (known as "Stilyagi") who flaunted their open-mindedness and fearlessly mocked Communist repression in 1955 Moscow. The central premise (which channels Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins' West Side Story) deals with a star-crossed romance between two lovers on opposite sides of the said fence: Mels (Anton Shagin) is a pro-communist Komsomol activist, Polly (Oksana Akinshina) is a sexy, uninhibited, free-spirited member of the Stilyagi; they fall instantly in love despite vast differences, and Polly turns her new paramour on to the many pleasures of the West, including jazz music. Significantly, although the real-life members of the Stilyagi experienced sad fates (such as imprisonment), this cinematic treatment of them exudes a bright and upbeat sensibility, marked by glossy musical numbers that are scattered throughout.
free-spirit, free-thought, liberalism, rebel