Generation P | Movie review
A Russian satire may baffle those not in the know.
Amassing a not-insignificant number of defenders for a small release, Generation P comes billed as another advertising-as-zeitgeist drama in the vein of Mad Men or (even more so) Pablo Larrain’s Chilean satire No, slated to be released next year. Kiosk operator Babylen (Vladimir Epifantsev) counts himself among the “Pepsi generation,” Russians in love with newly rampant consumerism. The country’s mid-’90s capitalist spree finds him stumbling into a gig as a “creative,” coming up with slogans to market global brands to a post-Soviet audience. Except the objective isn’t sales, exactly. His firm informs him that at the moment, the point of putting your ad on TV is simply to show power brokers you have money to burn. The worse the commercial, the better it serves as proof.
From that acerbic premise, Generation P veers in several strange directions, including political manipulation and long, hallucinogenic sequences detailing Babylen’s brainstorming process. The pace is erratic, and there’s the sense that the too-broad laugh lines might just not play well in subtitles. Often impenetrable, Generation P is distinctive enough to function as an advertisement for itself. But by the time it reaches Matthew Barney territory, you may want to buy something else.