The Vanished Empire | Chicago Reader

The Vanished Empire

In the gray old days of Brezhnev and detente, Russian college students shimmy to "Sugar, Sugar" and shell out for black-market Levis, unaware that these are the best days of their lives. This 2008 coming-of-age story by veteran director Karen Shakhnazarov (Zero City, The Rider Named Death) is most entertaining when it dwells on the era's cultural details: in the funniest sequence, the young protagonist slinks around an illicit record bazaar at a public park, pays 70 rubles for a new Stones LP, and proudly gives it to the girl he's courting, only to discover it's an old copy of Swan Lake with a fake label pasted on. But eventually this "Russian Graffiti" aspect gives way to a dreary set of life lessons as the hero's callow treatment of his friends and family circles around to bite him in the ass. In Russian with subtitles. 105 min.


Cast information not available at this time.

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