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Generation P

A hallucinatory look at Russia's post–Cold War quarrel with capitalism.

Victor Ginzburg (USA/Russia, Vanguard)

Wednesday, September 14, 8:30 p.m.
AMC 6 (10 Dundas Street East)

Thursday, September 15, 6:30 p.m.
Soctiabank Theatre 2 (259 Richmond Street West)

Friday, September 16, 10 a.m.
Soctiabank Theatre 11 (259 Richmond Street West)

Part Wag the Dog, part How to Get Ahead in Advertising, Generation P is a witty, wildly imaginative, intermittently psychedelic trip through the post-Soviet mindset, or at least the post-Soviet mindset of writer/director Victor Ginzburg. Opening just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, our hero is Babylen (Vladimir Yepifantsev), a hockey-haired poet and proud member of Generation P (the Pepsi Generation, to North Americans) eking out a living selling cigarettes out of a makeshift bodega. After running into an old friend, Babylen gets roped into an advertising company, using his gift for word play and knack for tapping into the collective unconscious of the Russian people to sell weirdly nationalistic ad campaigns. His success is stimulated by his regular extracurricular diet of mushrooms and mammoth doses of LSD.

Babylen ascends through the ranks of Russian capitalism, until he’s working for a shadowy extra-governmental think tank that digitizes politicians and pulling the strings of these digital puppets. He’s assigned to develop a populist, Putin-like hero who will meet contemporary Russia’s nostalgic need to be told what to do (he names his creation Smirnov, to double up on branding opportunities). The folds of reality and unreality smear as Ginzburg skilfully collapses barriers between the virtual, the physical, and the chemically induced.