Hipsters -- Film Review

Benjamin Walker
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 13:  Actor Benjamin Walker attends the "Bloody Bloody Jackson" opening night after party at Brasserie 8 1/2 on October 13, 2010 in New York City.

CHICAGO -- A saturnalia for the eye, "Hipsters" is an old-fashioned musical outlined amid the stark repression of the 1950s Soviet Union. An in-your-face dance upon the graves of the Khrushchev era, this lively entertainment is an audience favorite and won a Silver Plaque for its art design at the Chicago International Film Festival and the best film award at the Middle East International Film Festival.

A phantasmagoria of color and dance, "Hipsters" is, admittedly, more sheen than substance, though its general theme is a smackdown of the stolid, Orwellean world of communist Moscow.

In this boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-back-other-girl swirl, Elena Glikman stars as a rebellious teen whose brightly colored wardrobe and anti-establishment lifestyle smacks in the gray face of the collectivist, dowdy society. She's the forbidden fruit for a conscientious communist teen (Anton Sagin), a young square who yearns for a more livelier life. Inspired by the girl, he dons bright colors, flaunts a pompadour and drops his zealot/communist girlfriend (Evgeniya Khirivskaya).

Although the plot stumbles around between romance and political tract, it's a visual feast, and the performers are vivacious and spirited. Credit co-writer/director Valery Todorovsky for the captivating visuals and heightened pace that captures the spirit of youthful rebellion and romance.

Tech credits, especially Vladimir Gudlin's sparkling production design and Konstantin Meladze, are magical.

Venue: Chicago International Film Festival

Production company: Red Arrow
Cast: Oksana Akinshina, Anton Shagin, Evgeniya Khirivskaya, Maksim Matveev, Igor Voynarovskiy
Director: Valeriy Todorovskiy
Screenwriters: Yuriy Korotkov, Valeriy Todorovskiy
Producers: Elena Glikman, Vadim Goryainov, Leonid Lebedev, Ilya Neretin, Valery Todorovsky, Leonid Yarmolnik
Executive producers: Maxim Koropstov, Elena Kozhanova
Director of photography: Roman Vasyanov
Production designer: Vladimir Gudlin
Music: Konstantin Meladze
Costume designer: Alexander Osipov
Editor: Alexey Bobrov
No rating, 135 minutes