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Summer

Leto

Surreal at times, but always sincere, Russian provocateur Kirill Serebrennikov’s latest is a journey into the heart of the Soviet counterculture of the late 1980s.

Dir Kirill Serebrennikov
Prod Ilya Stewart, Murad Osmann, Pavel Buria, Mikhail Finogenov
Scr Mikhail Idov, Lily Idova, Kirill Serebrennikov
With Roma Zver, Irina Starshenbaum, Teo Yoo
Russia
2018
126min
Sales Charades
Subtitles

Amid the hyper-controlled cultural world of pre-Perestroika Leningrad, a rock scene is burgeoning. Their leader is the charismatic Mike (Roma Zver), who works in a factory by day and transcribes Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and David Bowie lyrics by night. Enter Viktor Tsoy (Teo Yoo), an aspiring musician who quickly charms the gang – and Mike’s girlfriend Natasha (Irina Starshenbaum). Amongst the rockers inspired by Western music playing in Communist Party-licensed clubs and semi-sedated audiences whose applause is policed, Tsoy’s raw talent is a breath of fresh air and hints at the possibility of – and need for – change. Though Serebrennikov remains under house arrest on as-yet-unfounded embezzlement charges, Summer is a timely mood piece that dares to ask how artists can survive in a repressive regime.

Anna Bogutskaya

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