GENERATION P is a psychedelic, kaleidoscopic explosion from Russia, relying upon oodles of post-Soviet pop-culture references that went way over my head, resulting in a film that that’s still a whole heap of fun.
A twisted mix of MAD MEN and FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, we find our protagonist poet Babylen (Vladimir Yepifantsev) working a kiosk to make a living. With an uncanny ability to make up pithy catchphrases for his wares, he’s soon drawn into the lucrative world of advertising. Running into a dry spell both creatively and emotionally, he draws inspiration from hallucinogens, vision quests, and other mind blowing elements that drive the second half of the film.
For uninitiated audiences unwilling to go along with the flow, this will be both tedious and uncomfortable. The editing style is kinetic, the narrative full of cryptic allusions and surreal imagery. For those open to its charms, however, letting the trip flow over you results in quite a rewarding, unique experience. It’s rarely if ever gratuitous in its insanity – rather than some video art wank, there’s a deliberation, a direction to the proceedings that grounds the viewer willing to reach out and grab the story’s thread.
It’s unlikely in the long, rich history of Russian cinema that there’s every been anything quite like this – it’s a unique artifact from the other side of the planet, and quite simply the kind of rare, weird films that makes festivals so enjoyable. In no other context would I give a film like this a shot, but in the realm of a mid-fest mindfuck, GENERATION P does much to impress.