Стиляги (Stilyagi) is a 2008 Musical Dramedy by Valery Todorovsky set in 1955-1956. Iosif Stalin has been dead for two years, but Nikita Khrushchev has not yet denounced the Cult Of Personality, and the Soviet Union has just begun to be liberalized. Young people are experimenting with Rock & Roll, jazz, Mod style, and other trademarks of American pop culture. In the secret rock clubs and cocktail lounges, they find freedom from Soviet life. But the Komsomol (Communist Youth League), acting in the role of Culture Police, is constantly hunting these youth, who are called "stilyagi," a rude term roughly translating as "hipsters" or "mods."One evening, Komsomol are patrolling a park and find a secret dance party. They break up the party, but one of the girls, Polly (Oksana Akinshina), escapes. The Komsomol leader Katya (Eugenia Brik) orders her friend Mels (Anton Shagin) to chase Polly. He finds her, but falls in love with her, and she escapes the Komsomol punishment. Mels is captivated, and tries to find Polly. One day, he finds her on the street with her other stilyagi friends, such as Fred, Bob, Drin, Betsy, Ellie, Sophie, and Lizzie. All of them dress in colorful clothes, wear makeup, sculpt their hair in wild styles, call each other by English names, and have secret rock parties. Mels decides to join the stilyagi, and learns dancing from Bob. He manages to get rock songs, makes a colorful suit, and begins to go out with Polly, gradually having fun and becoming his own man. He even takes on the English name Mel.Mel gets a saxophone, becoming a Sexy Sax Man under the guidance of an apparition of Charlie Parker. He and Polly deepen their relationship, and they have sex. But not everything goes well. Mel's old friends abandon him, and his neighbors tease him for being a stilyaga. Katya, who secretly likes Mel, feels conflicted. Mel goes to Katya's house and teaches her to express herself through dance and fashion. But when Katya kisses Mel, he confesses he is in love with Polly, and Katya throws him out of her house. Persuaded by his father Brusnitsyn, who is a powerful diplomat, Fred goes to America for an internship so that he himself can become a diplomat. As a final gesture, though, Brusnitsyn hosts a party in his house for the stilyagi, and reveals that he himself was a rebel in his youth.Polly tells Mel she wants to break up with him as she is pregnant, but the baby is not his. Mel persuades her to stay as he and his father can help her raise the baby. Mel is a big hit with the stilyagi, playing the saxophone and singing, but Katya and the Komsomol find their hideout again. The next day, at a Komsomol meeting, Katya throws Mel out of the league, saying his Meaningful Rename (see below for details) signifies he is a traitor, and making all the other Komsomol members join her in a chant as Mel hands in his membership card.Polly gives birth to a son, John, but he is black. Mel is not sure how to react, but his father takes the baby, shows it to the other people in the apartment, and says "She is ours!" Later on, Polly reveals that John's real father was a visiting black man from America who was lost. She welcomed him into her home and, since he was like a creature from another planet, they could not really talk, and instead had sex. Mel and Polly stay together, though, and their stilyagi friends come to visit them. Bob becomes an authority on the purchase of American records, Drin serves on a submarine, and Betsy has a nervous breakdown and is expelled from Moscow.At the end, Fred returns from America with three things. The first is a saxophone for Mel. The second is a marriage to the homely daughter of an American academician. The third is terrible news—there are no stilyagi in America!
Songs heard in the film
Tropes in the film