Jazzman

  • 1984
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Drama

Despite wavering "official" attitudes toward jazz in the Soviet Union, the musical form has enjoyed considerable popularity with the Russian people. This film pretends to be a story of a dzhez band in 1930; but, because of not-too-subtle government influence, it never quite develops into the charming period piece it could have been. In is the first year...read more

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Despite wavering "official" attitudes toward jazz in the Soviet Union, the musical form has enjoyed considerable popularity with the Russian people. This film pretends to be a story of a dzhez band in 1930; but, because of not-too-subtle government influence, it never quite develops into

the charming period piece it could have been. In is the first year of the Five Year Plan. Sklyar, Chorny, Averyuskin, and Shcherbakov are jazz street entertainers. They are noticed and hired to play at a party for some apparently important people; but when they learn that their employers are

Jewish gangsters, they find themselves in a quandary. Do they keep their ill-gotten gains (which the threadbare band members clearly need), or is the money to be turned over to the government? There are no surprises here, and the story is not engaging. Each character is representative of a

particular political viewpoints, with a czarist loyalist being the band's least talented member. There are also some slams at the US: one character explains that dzhez is music born of the blues tunes of oppressed Negro Americans. Had this film been made from a populist point of view, it might

well have been a charming portrait of a people and an era. Such is not the case, and the results are enormously disappointing. (In Russian; English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 1984
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Despite wavering "official" attitudes toward jazz in the Soviet Union, the musical form has enjoyed considerable popularity with the Russian people. This film pretends to be a story of a dzhez band in 1930; but, because of not-too-subtle government influen… (more)

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