Kiril Serebrennikov’s Leto (2018) is a nostalgic foray into Leningrad’s music scene of the 1980s. The plot of the movie is romantic and uncontroversial, especially in comparison with Serebrennikov’s other films such as The Student (2016) which looked at youth radicalisation. During the production of Leto (2018) Serebrrenikov was placed under house arrest. Looking at the real life subjects of the film, both living and dead, gives some insight into why this particular production may have implied controversy. Viktor Tsoi, Mike Naumenko and Boris Grebenshikov were all vocal critics of the Soviet state. The film, given its divisive subject and controversial director is almost surprisingly lighthearted. Grebenshikov, the only one of the three still living, publicly called the events of Leto (2018) a lie. The film itself makes no pretence that the plot is true, with meta-references to its fabrication being shown through a character called Sceptic. Perhaps the point of the film is to celebrate the past and to capture the idealism and joy of youth.
Kirill Semyonovich Serebrennikov is a Russian stage and film director, and theatre designer. Since 2012, he has been the artistic director of the Gogol Center in Moscow. He has been described as one of Russia’s leading theatre directors.