Capturing the paranoia and parties that fueled the underground music scene behind the Iron Curtain of 1980s Leningrad, Leto is a kinetic punk rock ode to the early years of famed songwriter Viktor Tsoi and a love triangle that could usurp a musical revolution.
A spirited black-and-white, biopic-turned-musical that bleeds punk rock fervor, Kirill Serebrennikov’s (The Student) Leto casts the spotlight on a ragtag group of rockers whose adoration for the likes of Lou Reed made them immediate enemies of the state in 1980s Leningrad. After crashing a beach party, outsider Viktor (Teo Yoo) reluctantly performs his rousing tunes for a disillusioned mop-top gang led by local rock star Mayk (Roma Zver). As the two songwriters grow close chain-smoking over banned records from Bowie, Mayk’s wife Natasha (Irina Starshenbaum) develops her own romantic interest in her husband’s new protégé. Instead of the threats of a culturally oppressive regime, it might be a love triangle that cuts the burgeoning rockers’ sets short in this Cannes competition selection. Featuring fantastical reimaginings of classics by the likes of Iggy Pop, Talking Heads, and even Viktor’s real-life band Kino, Leto is an exhilarating, nostalgic love letter to a bygone era when all that mattered was the music and those who made it.