The Naked Truth About the Zhiguli Band: A film that every band can relate to

Photo: Screen grab from the trainer of The Naked Truth About the Zhiguli Band
Photo: Screengrab from the trainer of The Naked Truth About the Zhiguli Band

How would you feel when your favourite band reunites after 30 years to perform a live show? Of course, it would make you happy and emotional. In the film The Naked Truth About the Zhiguli Band, an original lineup of the rock band Zhiguli has come together after three decades to perform the show and a fan is desperate to see them live. 

A music producer, Fori, the central character, played by Mihail Bilalov, engages in a heated conversation with her daughter Liza, played by Klimentina Fartzova, regarding Liza’s aspiration to study at the Royal Academy in the UK. However, due to financial constraints, Fori prefers Liza to pursue studies at a local university.

The unexpected reunion 

Photo: Screengrab from the trainer of The Naked Truth About the Zhiguli Band
Photo: Screengrab from the trainer of The Naked Truth About the Zhiguli Band

Amid the financial tension of Fori, a wealthy fan offers Fory a large sum of money to reunite with Zhiguli, Fory’s old band, for a performance at his 50th birthday celebration. The money is enough to send his daughter to the Royal Academy. This generous offer motivates Fory to reunite the group, which was disbanded 30 years ago.    

Subsequently, Fori begins reaching out to each band member individually. He faces considerable difficulty in persuading all of them to reunite. Apart from the bassist Vaso (Phillip Avramov), who has remained active in music, the other members have pursued different professions such as doctor, butcher, writer, and more. Moreover, since the band disbanded three decades ago under strained circumstances, convincing the members for a reunion show poses an additional challenge for Fori. However, he succeeds in convincing all of them. How? Well, it would be unfair to spoil it, as it is one of the most intriguing parts of the movie. Then the band members move for the practice in the villa of Bobi Chaev (Avgust Popov), a wealthy fan, who approached Fory to reunite with Zhiguli.   

Fory’s effort to reunite the band serves as a testament to the extent of love he has for his daughter’s dreams. 

Directed by Victor Bojinov, this Bulgarian film has the potential to resonate with hundreds of musicians who are or have been members of bands. It shows what it takes to run the band healthily and the factors that lead to disbanding. Every day, new bands are formed, but only a few endure. The major factors behind disbandment are ego clash and finances, and the film realistically portrays how these factors affect band members.   

Full package of entertainment

Photo: Screengrab from the trainer of The Naked Truth About the Zhiguli Band
Photo: Screengrab from the trainer of The Naked Truth About the Zhiguli Band

The dialogue among the characters, where they reference musicians such as Jimmy Page, Jim Morrison, Elton John, Rolling Stone, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd, accurately depicts the kind of interactions that often occur among musicians or band members.

Another significant aspect that the film addresses is the changing tastes in music among listeners.  It depicts how rock music has gradually lost its charm in the music industry over time, being overshadowed by Electronic dance music (EDM). 

Alongside its serious exploration of music and musicians, the film has its humorous side. In particular, the scene depicting the lads’ witty banter in their touring van can evoke hearty laughter.  

The element that keeps you entertained in this film is its soundtrack. As a movie depicting the story of musicians, it’s expected to have great tracks, and in this regard, the makers have done a commendable job. Kudos to Petar Dundakov and Georgi Georgiev, the film’s music composers. Each song evokes the essence of rock music, offering the kind of tracks that every rock enthusiast would love, especially in times like these where good rock music is scarce.  

The technical side 

Photo: Screengrab from the trainer of The Naked Truth About the Zhiguli Band
Photo: Screengrab from the trainer of The Naked Truth About the Zhiguli Band

The film employs basic camera work. Cinematically, there are no camera shots that would particularly amaze you. However, all the camera work fits well with the storyline of the film. 

Despite the movie being captivating in many ways, there are a few aspects that the makers of The Naked Truth About the Zhiguli Band could have taken into consideration.

Firstly, despite the band members reuniting after three decades, many of whom had not played music in years, they managed to play their song flawlessly during the first jam session after reuniting. This seems unusual because, without proper practice for such a long time, it is almost impossible to play the entire song without any errors. 

The makers of this film could have utilised flashback elements effectively. Since the film depicts the story of a band that disbanded 30 years ago, there are no appropriate visual references within the film to depict how the band appeared three decades ago. Incorporating old footage or stills of the band could have made their reunion appear more authentic. Doing so could have added extra joy for the viewers. 

Despite a few flaws, the film has a majestic ending. Their first reunion show after thirty years can give you goosebumps. The energy and emotion that the band members exude during the show could make you emotional and even bring you to tears. The use of yellow light grading during the live show signifies joy, happiness, and optimism. Any band that has done a reunion show after ages can easily relate to this film.

In general, The Naked Truth About the Zhiguli Band is a film worth watching. Musicians are highly recommended to watch this film, as it vividly depicts the ups and downs that musicians have to go through.

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Prasun Sangroula is an Onlinekhabar correspondent, mainly covering arts, society and sports.

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