Get ready to experience an underground 1980s rock scene, in the least likely of places, the USSR, with Leto — an ode to the Soviet rock rebellion and those who defied the state.
Under the suffocating control of the USSR, an underground rock scene flourished, fueled by musicians’ love of Western rock and their disdain for the government. Emerging from this scene were two young musicians, Viktor Tsoi of Kino (Teo Yoo) and Mike Naumenko of Zoopark (Roman Bilyk). Set against the backdrop of the genesis of the Leningrad Rock Club and the production of Kino’s debut album 45, Leto explores the creative and personal relationship between Mike and Viktor, who begins having an affair with Mike’s wife Natasha (Irina Starshenbaum).
Vladislav Opelyants’ black and white cinematography gives Leto a vintage feel and serves as a visual expression of how sterile life under the KGB felt. Surrealist images and musical interludes — combined with animation resembling an early ’80s MTV music video — are unexpectedly charming breaks with reality, representing the freedom that art can bring.
“The director’s stylistic decisions bring freshness to the set.” — Juanma Ruiz, Caiman Cuadernos de cine
“A film that illustrates how Art stull frightens the powerful.” — Pablo Villaca, Cinema de Cena
“Even if Leto doesn’t trumpet any obvious political agenda, it still feels dangerous, like a sidelong glance that shoots daggers.” — Stephanie Zachaerk, TIME