Countdown to CIFF: #6. Generation P

For the 10 days leading up to CIFF’s opening gala, I’ll be posting a quick write-up per day on some of my favourite movies at the fest. I’m not exactly unbiased — CIFF does give me a paycheque, after all — but these posts are my own opinions and not those of the festival.

I actually reviewed this one at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, and if you have an encyclopedic knowledge of my opinions (or if you just clicked that link), you’ll know I gave it a B. But then, you’ll also know that a B puts it comfortably above my reviews of movies by Werner Herzog and Michael Winterbottom, so try to think of it on that curve. Because Generation P is actually fascinating. And crazy. And maybe profound. I’m not sure.

It’s sort of a story about Russia’s transition into a free-market economy, and how that really only resulted in a different set of oligarchs. But it’s also about the way that marketing has twisted the entire world in its own image. And it’s also an exploration of religion, and psychedelic drugs, and occultism, and conspiracy theories, and Russian culture and politics, with a definite Grant Morrison kitchen-sink approach to just how much weirdness its world can contain. If you’re already somewhat versed in Russian culture, there’s no question: You need to watch this. If you’re not, I still stand by my original review: There’s no question that it’s a mess. You can’t be this ambitious without making a mess. But it’s such a sprawling, unique mess that it just demands to be seen.

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