Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Mixing wistful nostalgia with energetic editions of rock classics, Kirill Serebrennikov’s sophomore feature is a sprawling, luminous ode to the Leningrad rock scene of the 1980s, mainly tracing the formation of Soviet rock band Kino, fronted by Viktor Tsoï (Teo Yoo) with the help of Mike (Roma Zver), a popular frontman of one of the Leningrad Rock Club’s bands. Alternating elegiac scenes with quirky flights of fancy, the Russian director’s follow-up to The Student (VIFF 16) has the beguiling quality of a hazy, wistful memory—the kind that you want to immerse yourself in just a bit longer, before it disappears.
Captured mainly in luxuriant, elegantly choreographed long takes and widescreen black-and-white vistas, the film shimmers with a sense of human possibility. Hallucinogenic scenes mix with sorrowful reminiscences and charged musical sequences. (An impromptu bus-set cover of Iggy Pop’s "The Passenger" is a surefire highlight.) Amid the bursts of raucous energy, and occasional poetic calm, the love triangle that forms between Viktor, Mike and his wife Natacha (Irina Starshenbaum) provides the film with its moving core, which will linger long after the film is over.