Directed by Valery Todorovsky
Starring Anton Shagin, Oksana Akinshina, Evgenia Brik
Despite what you might think, "Hipsters" isn't a film about skinny jeans and Williamsburg.
The hipsters of this '50s-set Russian musical are Soviet teens who wear flashy clothes, sport pompadours and love American culture, all of which propels them into an unending conflict with those who maintain drab, monotone Communist societal conventions.
Director Valery Todorovksy believes that Russia hasn't produced a musical since the '40s, but that curiosity factor isn't enough to overcome 125 thinly plotted minutes.
To be fair, the film is initially sustained by the sense that you're watching something unique unfold onscreen, manifest in the big, colorful production numbers and appealing cross-cultural spirit.
But the story falters, offering perilously one-dimensional characters that don't change in meaningful, interesting ways amid an overall absence of compelling drama. The broadly drawn narrative follows good Communist "square" Mels (Anton Shagin) as he immerses himself in the hipster community, driven by his love for the saxophone and desire for the beautiful Polly (Oksana Akinshina).
There's not much more to it than that, as Todorovsky offers a frenzied montage aesthetic that blends a big-band, jazzy sensibility with dystopian overtones. It's an intriguing spectacle, but there's no substance behind it.
Playing at the Cinema Village