This autobiographical picture was released in 2018. Director Kirill Serebrennikov described a short life episode of Viktor Tsoi and other real musicians who performed and worked in Leningrad in the early eighties. Perestroika is still far away, rock music is more banned than allowed. But this gives rise not only to youth interest in it, but also to a huge number of talents that appear among the “eternal builders of communism.” The main storyline is Tsoi’s communication with Mike Naumenko and his wife Natalya. The viewer becomes a witness of the everyday life of a rock club in the city on the Neva and the recording of the debut album of the Kino group.
Summer-81 in 2 hours
The name speaks for itself, everything takes place in the summer of 1981. Novice musicians Victor and Lenya come to the beach to communicate with Mike Naumenko’s friends. At this time, he is considered a guru in rock music, leads the Zoo group. The guy sings the song “Summer”, and everyone present sings along with him. Tsoi has already written his first works, which will become hits only by the end of the decade. He still does not have his own musicians and the name of the future team. Mike’s opinion is important to him, for this he and Leonid perform the themes “Idler” and “My Friends”.
A positive impression was made on Naumenko, he even gives the duet a name – “Garin and the Hyperboloids”. Young musicians communicate, Victor meets Natasha, they have something to talk about and discuss. From the first minutes of the conversation, a force of attraction arises between them, many viewers will certainly be intrigued by the development of further relations. Mike notices his wife’s interest in the young talent, but no conflict will occur. Later, Natalya will call this relationship a “children’s romance”, everything will remain virgin and unchanged.
“Garin and the Hyperboloids” apply to join the rock club. Naumenko helps the team in every possible way, they have a difficult task to convince the strict artistic council. Responsible comrade Ivanov has to come to terms with the song titles that were defiant for that time. Tsoi’s duet was presented as satirical. “Eighth Grader” perfectly criticizes sexual promiscuity. In the country of the Soviets, there is no place for parasites from the topic “Idler” and “My Friends”, who suffer from alcoholism. Soon the team will be accepted into the rock club.
The key problem of the newly minted duet is musicians and like-minded people. Their drummer Oleg goes to the army, the guys have only two guitars. Choi decides to use a drum machine. On this occasion, he has an argument with Mike. A more experienced and authoritative musician declares the need to create a powerful sound. And the use of mechanical rhythm makes rock and roll banal disco. Victor respects Naumenko, but they have obvious contradictions on this issue. The future idol wants to be individual, he is looking for his own way, trying to get away from the standards imposed by world culture.
Soon the group “Garin and Hyperboloids” is waiting for the first concert. The newcomers were the last to be released onto the stage. The audience saw two guys with simple guitars; after the powerful rhythms of the “Zoo” they became uninteresting. Many went out, but Mike supported Tsoi: during the performance of the hit “Once I was a beatnik,” he accompanied the singing with the support of his solo guitar. The debut performance turned out to be successful, they paid attention to the newcomers and generously endowed them with a standing ovation.
The first rock concerts of that time look comical. The shaggy audience sits dutifully in their armchairs, with difficulty restraining themselves to the rhythmic guitar chords. In the hall are warriors, representatives of the Komsomol. Attempts to jerk the head and other body movements are strictly controlled, the actions of violators are immediately stopped.
There is a real character in the picture, who is still alive today. Grebenshchikov’s prototype is Bob, a celebrity of the Leningrad rock club. Mike asks him to take over producing Tsoi. Soon a recording studio was prepared, the collection of songs was given the name “45”. The sound turned out to be terrible, but the compositions entered the musical treasury of Soviet rock.
At the joint apartment concert of Naumenko and Viktor, their creative friction, opposing views on the world of show business, once again appear. Tsoi is closer to a small audience, the possibility of live contact with a small audience. The head of the Zoo is attracted by hundreds of thousands of stadiums and millions of fans. After this speech, Vitya meets Maryana. The girl leaves him a phone number, which will later become a hit of the Aquarium group.
Months have passed, now the team has a name. The organization of the Kino concerts is taken up by Maryana, who became the wife of Tsoi. And the image of the main character changed, the first fans and new songs appeared. Everyone is waiting for another performance in a rock club. Victor does not start performing without his true friends – Mike and Natalia. Their arrival changes Tsoi’s plans – he spontaneously sings the composition “Tree”. Naumenko leaves the hall, and his wife takes part in a standing ovation. Under the hit “Summer Will End Soon” the credits roll.
The two-hour picture does not set high goals for itself. It simply tells about the birth of rock music in the USSR, describes the backstage life of semi-underground musicians. The film will be of interest to young people and to everyone who loves the songs of Kino, which are relevant at all times. The tape can be considered as historical. Gray Soviet communal life, shortages, the fight against ideological windmills, the war in Afghanistan. Artistic techniques look cool with the appearance of the young Artemy Troitsky in some episodes: he comments on the actions of the musicians, and then admits that these are all fictions. You can also get a lot of pleasure from the songs, many of them are presented in the format of a video clip.