A raft of semi-comprehensible tumult in satirical drag, Victor Ginzburg’s frenetic adaptation of Viktor Pelevin’s novel “Generation P” spends itself in gonzo aspiration and colorful pre-millennial proto-anti-capitalist mayhem. It has a matter-of-fact baroque that suggests an image of novelist-present-tense-futurist William Gibson sitting in Vancouver, smiling, even if unaware of the film’s existence. Set in Moscow in the 1990s at the rise of a new Russia after the end of the Cold War and the USSR, poet Babylen Tatarsky is inducted into copywriting as well as a mysterious group known as the Cult of Ishtar. Those sympathetic may find a touch of lysergic screwball, a report on a gangsterism of ideas: other viewers may simply see it as unhinged disorder. (I like it.) Notably, the film’s chauffeur-turned-president of Russia bears an undeniable resemblance to the country’s present plutocrat-for-life Vladimir Putin. With Vladimir Yepifantsev, Mikhail Yefremov, Andrei Fomin, Sergei Shnurov, Vladimir Menshov, Oleg Taktarov. 116m. (Ray Pride)
“Generation P” opens Friday at Landmark Century. Trailer here.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.