Six Letters About Beat is a 1977 student short film that takes a form of visual “letters to the editor” from people of all walks of life – a conservative couple, a groupie girl, members of an amateur rock band, a sociology professor. The letters attack, defend, justify and explain rock music.
This film is an amazing historical document and a living proof that Soviet rock music didn’t start in the 1980s with Viktor Tsoi and “Kino”, as it is believed by many. The film contains recordings of the 1970s underground concerts with bands like “Rubinovaya ataka” (Ruby Attack), “Visokosnoe leto” (Leap Summer) and “Mashina Vremeni” (Time Machine). Rock music sessions were not completely legal at that time, which makes the footage even more exclusive.
Six Letters About Beat was directed by a documentary film-maker Aleksei Khanyutin, back then a student of VGIK (All Union State University of Cinematography), as part of his university course. This coursework was gathering dust on a shelf of some archive until the collapse of the USSR, mainly because the film doesn’t exhibit any negative attitudes towards rock music scene and even poses a question whether this music can be considered a form of art.
Today on Obskura enjoy this piece of Soviet rock music history subtitled in English by us: