Tsoi – Legend Never Dies

REVIEW
by Maria Shabelskaya
28.11.2020
In November, Alexey Uchitel's film Tsoi (2020) was released in Russia. This is about the eighth attempt to posthumously reflect in the film the phenomenon of the legendary musician who, even after his death, has been attracting people for thirty years.
The very first frame of the film is really amazing — Tsoi is in front of us. No one plays him, Alexey Uchitel abandoned the initial idea to create an artistic image of Tsoi, because he didn't find an actor with the same shape of the occiput. So we see Tsoi himself performing on stage and then sitting in the dressing room after the show and chatting about something with his friends. This is a real fragment from his life. Alexey Uchitel — the director of the film "Tsoi" — was quite familiar with Viktor at that time. It was him who made the films Rock (1988) and The Last Hero (1992). The initial shots of this movie are just pieces of those famous films.
The beginning of the film surprises not only with the appearance of Victor — the careful editing by the team of the film creators literally connects two eras here adding a fictional character to Victor's surroundings. There is a girl, working
as a photographer who is hopelessly in love
with the musician, she is played by Nadezhda Kalganova. Later in the film, she will also be among those who will take the coffin of the
artist from Riga to St.Petersburg.



In general, the musician's coffin is taken to the funeral site by Tsoi's ex-wife Marina (Mariana Spivak), his last passion Polina (Paulina Andreeva), his son Zhenya (played by the daughter of Alexey Uchitel and Yulia Peresild — Maria Peresild), his producer Yuri Reisen (Igor Vernik), the photographer Victoria who loved Tsoi unrequitedly and the current boyfriend of his ex-wife Ric (Ilya Del). They are all driven by the same miserable driver Pavel Shelest (Yevgeny Tsyganov) who allegedly hit the artist. However, at first passengers have no idea who their driver is. The storyline of the journey is accompanied by the process of investigating the death of Tsoi, by the search for a precious cassette with the artist's latest album as well as the love triangle of the driver Ikarus, the fictional photographer and an investigator in the accident case.

Relations between all the "members of the expedition" are rather strained. Besides, they all have their own reasons for being angry with the deceased, except for his son. "You can't even bury him properly," — the Icarus driver addresses them with a sharp truth. However, when analyzing the characters' communication, it should be taken into account that the screenwriters created the situation and the plot the way they wanted it to be. No one in the audience is allowed to know how much of what was shown was actually there. This is what is confusing in the film about the artist's death. Most of the audience simply doesn't understand why it was necessary to include fiction into such an event.
"A man literally turned the corner and his life changed" – Alexey Uchitel tried to reveal the personality of Tsoi through his influence on the life of a complete stranger. It was important for the director to emphasize the change in the character of Tsyganov throughout the entire journey from the moment of the accident to
the musician's funeral. In the film, at the time
of the accident, the driver of Ikarus, living in Riga,
has no idea who Tsoi is. He has never heardany
of his songs. He will not hear themat the end of this "journey".
And yet, in any case, the film's correspondence to reality raises questions. Although the director says that all the names are deliberately changed, and at the end of the titers there's an exculpatory inscription "All coincidences with real personalities are occasional" — everything revolves around the real events, the characters have their own specific, easily readable prototypes, and their images were selected by stylist Vlad Lisovets looking back to the styles of specific Tsoi's close people. So after viewing the picture, an unsettling question remains — was it necessary to make a movie about these events in that way?

Approximately the same question had the musician's heir. Alexander Tsoi was so dissatisfied with the work that he even wrote a letter to the President of Russia and the Ministry of Culture asking them to cancel Uchitel's film. Meanwhile, representatives of the rock community, who personally knew the musician, differed in their assessments. Someone like Alexander Lipnitsky — one of the founders of the group Sounds of Mu — or Igor Gudkov — producer and author of the tribute to the group Kino — was dissatisfied with the name of the picture and the fact that the film is based on fiction, and someone calmly reacted to the film. "No one from the rock community has ever tried to dictate how to talk about them in movies," — said Sergey Solovyov, director of the film Assa (1987) that once starred Viktor Tsoi.
The film pleases with beautiful high-quality shooting, the viewer is attracted by the views of nature and small towns of Riga, but in a movie with such a theme, this is, probably, not the most important thing. After viewing, there are strange feelings: this film doesn't make you want to rewatch it, although, in fact, all the works that focus on the personality of Tsoi should be one big treasure. In general, the film failed to emphasize the importance of Tsoi, the whole picture is more like an director's attempt to show his personal honor for the musician.
 
Tsoi – Legend Never Dies
REVIEW
by Maria Shabelskaya
28.11.2020
In November, Alexey Uchitel's film Tsoi (2020) was released in Russia. This is about the eighth attempt to posthumously reflect in the film the phenomenon of the legendary musician who, even after his death, has been attracting people for thirty years.
The very first frame of the film is really amazing — Tsoi is in front of us. No one plays him, Alexey Uchitel abandoned the initial idea to create an artistic image of Tsoi, because he didn't find an actor with the same shape of the occiput. So we see Tsoi himself performing on stage and then sitting in the dressing room after the show and chatting about something with his friends. This is a real fragment from his life. Alexey Uchitel — the director of the film "Tsoi" — was quite familiar with Viktor at that time. It was him who made the films Rock (1988) and The Last Hero (1992). The initial shots of this movie are just pieces of those famous films.

The beginning of the film surprises not only with the appearance of Victor — the careful editing by the team of the film creators literally connects two eras here adding a fictional character to Victor's surroundings. There is a girl, working as a photographer who is hopelessly in love with the musician, she is played by Nadezhda Kalganova. Later in the film, she will also be among those who will take the coffin of the artist from Riga to St.Petersburg.
In general, the musician's coffin is taken to the funeral site by Tsoi's ex-wife Marina (Mariana Spivak), his last passion Polina (Paulina Andreeva), his son Zhenya (played by the daughter of Alexey Uchitel and Yulia Peresild — Maria Peresild), his producer Yuri Reisen (Igor Vernik), the photographer Victoria who loved Tsoi unrequitedly and the current boyfriend of his ex-wife Ric (Ilya Del). They are all driven by the same miserable driver Pavel Shelest (Yevgeny Tsyganov) who allegedly hit the artist. However, at first passengers have no idea who their driver is. The storyline of the journey is accompanied by the process of investigating the death of Tsoi, by the search for a precious cassette with the artist's latest album as well as the love triangle of the driver Ikarus, the fictional photographer and an investigator in the accident case.

Relations between all the "members of the expedition" are rather strained. Besides, they all have their own reasons for being angry with the deceased, except for his son. "You can't even bury him properly," — the Icarus driver addresses them with a sharp truth. However, when analyzing the characters' communication, it should be taken into account that the screenwriters created the situation and the plot the way they wanted it to be. No one in the audience is allowed to know how much of what was shown was actually there. This is what is confusing in the film about the artist's death. Most of the audience simply doesn't understand why it was necessary to include fiction into such an event.

"A man literally turned the corner and his life changed" – Alexey Uchitel tried to reveal the personality of Tsoi through his influence on the life of a complete stranger. It was important for the director to emphasize the change in the character of Tsyganov throughout the entire journey from the moment of the accident to the musician's funeral. In the film, at the time of the accident, the driver of Ikarus, living in Riga, has no idea who Tsoi is. He has never heardany of his songs. He will not hear themat the end of this "journey".
And yet, in any case, the film's correspondence to reality raises questions. Although the director says that all the names are deliberately changed, and at the end of the titers there's an exculpatory inscription "All coincidences with real personalities are occasional" — everything revolves around the real events, the characters have their own specific, easily readable prototypes, and their images were selected by stylist Vlad Lisovets looking back to the styles of specific Tsoi's close people. So after viewing the picture, an unsettling question remains — was it necessary to make a movie about these events in that way?

Approximately the same question had the musician's heir. Alexander Tsoi was so dissatisfied with the work that he even wrote a letter to the President of Russia and the Ministry of Culture asking them to cancel Uchitel's film. Meanwhile, representatives of the rock community, who personally knew the musician, differed in their assessments. Someone like Alexander Lipnitsky — one of the founders of the group Sounds of Mu — or Igor Gudkov — producer and author of the tribute to the group Kino — was dissatisfied with the name of the picture and the fact that the film is based on fiction, and someone calmly reacted to the film. "No one from the rock community has ever tried to dictate how to talk about them in movies," — said Sergey Solovyov, director of the film Assa (1987) that once starred Viktor Tsoi.
The film pleases with beautiful high-quality shooting, the viewer is attracted by the views of nature and small towns of Riga, but in a movie with such a theme, this is, probably, not the most important thing. After viewing, there are strange feelings: this film doesn't make you want to rewatch it, although, in fact, all the works that focus on the personality of Tsoi should be one big treasure. In general, the film failed to emphasize the importance of Tsoi, the whole picture is more like an director's attempt to show his personal honor for the musician.
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