The chapter considers the representation of young people in the cinema of the Stagnation era, and traces ruptures and continuities in the thematic and aesthetic presentation of an isolated and lonely teenager in the perestroika era. Against this backdrop, the chapter explores the perestroika trilogy of the popular film-maker Sergei Solov'ev with his cult-film Assa (1988), followed by Black Rose Is an Emblem of Sorrow, Red Rose Is an Emblem of Love (1989) and House under a Starry Sky (1991), which fragment the narratives and experiment with a range of styles in a reflection of the impossibility of grasping reality – a reality in flux. I argue that Solov'ev’s aesthetic style refracts reality and creates a deliberately un-real world that invites performance and play and stands in contrast to the authentic depiction of reality as represented by the chernukha genre. The originality of artistic creation endows the characters of Solov'ev’s films with a positive energy, even if their activity has no social or political impact.