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"Generation P": Psychedelic Post-Soviet Satire 

Wednesday, Dec 5 2012

Billed as "the first and only Russian film that poked sharp satire at the current Russian political system and the virtuality of its leaders," director Victor Ginzburg's Generation P gives phantasmagoric treatment to an alternate (but not necessarily inaccurate) history of the Putin moment. In the post-Soviet '90s, Babylen Tatarsky (Vladimir Yepifantsev) is working his way up the ladder of Moscow's emerging advertising industry. By day, he develops a knack for Russianizing Western product pitches; by night, he dabbles in drug-fueled explorations of Babylonian theology. Babylen's simultaneous educations in capitalism, the occult, and psychedelia eventually come together in a new career application for his talents: directing synthesized political spectacle in a mocap studio, creating footage the Russian public reads as real. Generation P is long and incredibly dense, but it's never boring — it's too wild and unhinged. The more you know about the past 20 years of Russian history, the more you stand to "get" from its coded references, though as with the not-totally-dissimilar Holy Motors, deciphering every frame might be besides the point. After all most of the characters on screen don't know what's really happening or why — they only know their individual role in the machine. The psychedelic impulse is about nothing if not the limits of what, under normal circumstances, can be understood or seen, and to apply its concerns in such an expansive way to real, right-now sociopolitical catastrophe makes for a pretty radical critique.

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Karina Longworth


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