Generation P (2011)
A chronicle of Russia's transition from communism to capitalism.
disgusting, overrated, pointless
It's one of the most original films you'll likely see all year, which, depending on your threshold for certifiably crazy storylines, could be a rewarding experience or one that frustrates you.
A film of deceptively outspoken contemporary relevance, this is cinema at its most alert, alarming and alive.
One of the most extraordinary films you will see this year. Take that as you want.
This movie enchants with its honesty and surprises with its ingenuity. It shows an art-house-like alternative reality, which is an illusion. Unlike art house the movie has a clear message and meaning, you just have to look deeper. The alternative reality is also not really alternative, most of it is Russian reality now. Essentially, if you are a fan of seeing things through the glasses of irony and satire, you are not afraid to wonder what is really going on in the world behind the mask of show and propaganda, the movie is for you. I can't say it's about Russia only; it is a certain view of the world illustrated by the example of Russia. What country doesn't know lost generations, brain-washing and power play? Do not expect to be satisfied. The story leaves much room for thought and conclusions. Pelevin fans would be thrilled, those who didn't read the book will enjoy the movie nonetheless. It would be wrong to compare it to the book, because this is the kind of book that is next to impossible to be screened, yet the director managed to do it with flying colors. Besides, I can hardly think of any Russian movie with so much cursing, which makes the presented reality even more real. Whatever your impressions of the movie, it is definitely worth your time.
It might even be better if you haven't read the book, but come in naively as I did and just start watching with no expectations. Although this work of magical realism has a strong Russian flavor, it is as much about western civilization as anything else. Ironically, one of the themes is that Russia produces no products, but the Russian pose has long been that it produces philosophical literature and this Certainly qualifies. It also gives you a big taste of Russia that will inform someone who knows very little. The "cultural references" may be specific, but the context usually gives you an idea of what sort of thing is being referenced. I look forward to forcing my husband to watch it with me, and I wish I had more time to read, because the book must be really good...Now that I have seen it again, I look forward to reading the book, preferably annotated. A second viewing means that you can catch more foreshadowing and thematic development. I realized I had missed a few plot points, too. The events of 2015 resonate strongly with this film and it looks like 2016 will be more resonant yet. This film is available on Google, and I can't recommend it enough. From prehistory to modern politics it has something to say. It is funny as hell about some serious stuff.
"Generation P" is one of those books that is fantastic as a prose work and that one never suspects could be adequately filmed for a movie. The makers of the cinematic version clearly knew how ambitious they were being, working with this source, a lot of money and a lot of anticipation. The result is very, very good. But it doesn't capture some areas of where the source shines, while being very closely drawn from it and so inviting comparison. It looks fantastic, both in terms of the creation of a fantasized nineteen-nineties within the look of physical objects and costumes in the film, and in the realization of excellent visual imagery to represent some of the less literal matter going on. As a film, it's well timed, well edited, and well scripted such that it moves at a quick pace and is frequently insightful. But one of the strengths of the source novel was its willingness to philosophize at length, and to delve into its hallucinogenic descriptions. The film, in its desire to adapt the whole book, films a lot of events without the accompanying matter than justifies their inclusion. Thus, I think they miss a lot of the most important and worthwhile matter of the novel. We see Babylen eating hallucinogenic mushrooms and later LSD, but we only skim over the effects of them. We see how he runs into Blo at his new job, but we have no time to be introduced to who Blo is. We see that Yeltsin is being 3-D modeled and get some satiric value from that, but we don't get the full explanation that makes the idea so important and powerful. Most importantly, we hear the hallucination of Che Guevara speaking, but he gets only a few lines spoken very quickly, and we almost miss the discussion (deeply emphasized in the book) of the three human impulses -- oral, anal, and wow -- and how they relate to commercialism. Missing the emphasis on that feels like missing the point somehow. They kept (sometimes line for line) the novels satires of commercials, but not of commercialism -- and therefore made the work considerably less potent. I read that several firms were ironically given product placement in order to help finance the film; I hope that didn't affect any editorial decisions to weaken the message. Overall quite an impressive film, but one that invites comparison with the source, and then fails to capture its spirit or satiric power in several key areas.
If you have read the book, then you will like that movie did not tried to "improve" or "rethink" the original story, but stayed quite close to original, sometimes quoting parts of the book's text entirely.Cast is fine. Don't let the sucky trailer full you, actors are playing fine and their characters are quite believable (except for maybe, Litvinova, but she has around 30 seconds on screen, so it does not matter).Visuals are good. Not great, but good. Its "slightly better 90s", with slightly more human bandits, and slightly cleaner streets.Sound is fine, and music is even good enough to wonder about buying a soundtrack... but. There is always "but", and in this case - you MUST have lived in ex-USSR 90s, and you must speak Russian, to understand the movie. It's very tightly rooted into post-soviet discourse, and without "cultural references" (c), i am afraid, the movie will be hard to grasp on.alternatively, if you have ever wondered about, or experienced altered states of consciousness, you might find it fun ;)