With an admirable attempt to make a comedy about a challenged Russia the movie Generation P gets a little overboard on the satire. Although I like the quirky script, I don’t believe there will be a huge audience for the comic spoof mainly because of America’s lack of knowledge about Russia’s aversion for capitalism. For die hard indie fans however, this is your cup of ‘Mushroom’ soup.
It’s post-soviet capitalistic Russia and we find people doing odd jobs in order to keep afloat in the new world that has been handed to them. A woman sells Snicker bars on the street from a blanket laid down to guard her space from others who may want to nudge into her special spot. Others sell anything they can but with Babylen Tatarsky (Vladimir Yepifantsev) a poet of sorts, his income comes from a cigarette stand living off the meager income he makes from the Russian Mob owned Kiosk where he works.
At the kiosk however he’s learned two new skills: Cynicism and Human Habits both of which he uses to make daily sales. One day and old friend Morkovin (Andrei Fomin ) stops by his kiosk to purchase some condoms. Babylen recognizes him immediately and leaves his kiosk to talk with him in the street. In a conversation Morkovin offers Babylen the chance of a lifetime to become rich in capitalistic Russia. He finds out the job entails working with film crews to develop advertising for Television and Babylen jumps at the chance.
Babylen starts to excel in his job and offers slogans to his boss for the companies he’s pitching. The slogans for the many products pouring into Russia are so good he gets assigned to an ad agency where he becomes a superman in the business. When he starts to reach too high however, he finds out that being on top creates a long way to fall.
The funny little film does wander somewhat taking you on a ‘trip’ inside the hallucinating mind of our main character. After meeting another old friend, the special mushroom elixir he consumes starts putting his creative mind in hyper drive. This sets the film on a satirical path about the ills of the new Russian democratic society, the evils of capitalism, an implied communism pitch and a recreational drug social scene that’s out of control.
A little too lengthy, I would have preferred a shorter version that provides a more realistic view of the lives of this new order in Russia. Maybe less satire and more understanding of why the society has not come full term with capitalism. Most evident are the street people selling wares as if downtown streets were a flea market or a place to hold a garage sale. The images are not very fun, even though they were meant to prick the mind as a wake-up call.
The film actually did very well at the Russian box-office recouping a third of the original price tag on just 527 screens. It seems the people in this reconditioned country must have understood all the cynicism, innuendo, illumination, parodies and sarcasm based on the immense changes that made them a capitalistic democracy. But, unfortunately most Americans are not in tune with the changes made to Russia that have set their people on a tough road of change. What was a society that provided for them has become one they have to nurture themselves.
Generation P has not been rated by the MPAA but it does contain drug use, language, smoking, and some violence. The film is presented in the Russian Language with English subtitles.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good satire for Indie lovers and those who understand the meaning. [rating=4]
Additional Film Information:
- Cast: Vladimir Epifancev, Mikhail Yefremov, Andrei Fomin, Vladimir Menshov, and Aleksandr Gordon
- Directed by: Victor Ginzburg
- Genre: Comedy, Foreign
- Subtitles: In Russian with English Subtitles
- MPAA Rating: Unrated
- Running Time: 1 hr 52 min
- Opening Date: December 7, 2012
- Distributed by: Vitagraph Films