We Are from Jazz

classified U S

Melodia! Musicals from Russia and the Caucasus


Please note: This was screened in Jan 2020

Karen Shakhnazarov
Igor Sklyar, Aleksandr Pankratov-Chyornyy, Nikolay Averyushkin
89 mins, Subtitled, 1983, Russia
Primary language:

This unforgettable comedy musical follows the story of the young musician Konstantin and his burning ambition to bring jazz to the Soviet Union in the 1920s.

Expelled from his music school for his love of jazz – a genre that was said to represent US capitalism in 1920s Russia – young Konstantin begins a search to find other musicians who share his scandalous passion. Hooking up with two street musicians with a dubious moral standing, they form an unlikely jazz trio and journey across the Soviet Union, from Odessa to Moscow to Leningrad, trying to gain fame and bring their beloved American-rooted music to the Soviet masses.

Released into the harsh economic reality of the 1980s, it's an example of the loosening on censorship in the late Soviet film industry, at a time when criticising elements of the past became permissible. Hilarious, uplifting, and featuring some amazing historical 1920s music recordings, We are from Jazz is a film about reaching your dreams and the obstacles that must be overcome to find recognition.

With thanks to the Kino Klassika Foundation who create programs of restorations, publications, art commissions and events to spotlight Russian language cinema.Screening as part of BFI Musicals! The Greatest Show on Screen, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery, BFI Film Audience Network and ICO. bfimusicals.co.uk

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