Posted by: roamingolivia | November 9, 2011

Russian Film Festival: Generation П (Generation P)

Well, I’ll try at least to do one cultural review a week?! Yikes.

Anyway, last night I went to a screening of the film Generation П (Generation P), playing at the Russian Film Festival here in London. I’ve been pretty lazy about organising these things, but my friend pulled this together with a colleague (and another friend was able to scam a ticket at the door). In the interest of time, I will be brief about what I think about it, but in short: it was really, really good.

I think the following will have to be a free association of what I thought about it, in paragraphs:

I like Pelevin, although I don’t LOVE him the way one of my friends does. I have read a couple books by him, and they are interesting. Somehow, they usually make me think that either I am missing something, or he forgot to include the bit that ties everything together and tells you what happens at the end. It is a bit like a David Lynch film, or at least 1-5% as confusing as that. But I do like Pelevin, and I like the way he makes you keenly feel these vignettes from disjointed post-Soviet life (and contemporary life everywhere), and evokes a deep yearning that something else might have been possible – but we don’t know what it was, and it is now too late.

This film plays into this beautifully. I found it easier to follow than the books by Pelevin I have read, probably because it is visual and stuff has to happen in a film, which already adds a layer of concreteness. (There are parts of The Buddha’s Little Finger where it seems like people are just zipping around the universe, and you wonder if it is real – which I know is a lame question, but one wants to know.) At the same time, that yearning-for-something-else is still there. The actor that plays the main character is sympathetic, and that helps with the yearning feeling: you feel a sense of dread throughout the film, partly because he is introduced as such a “normal guy”.

I won’t get too much into the plot, but I really thought that all the politics stuff was also fascinating, and amusing. The idea that all of the news is manufactured using 3d images of politicians seemed to make about as much sense as the current primary season over in the US, so I was receptive to that as well.

Although the film ended at almost 11, I did some quick what’s-the-minimum-I-can-sleep-and-survive-tomorrow calculations and stayed to watch the Director, Victor Ginzburg, answer questions about the film. The most interesting part was when he was talking about how Russian producers told him that the idea was neaktual’no, which roughly translates to not topical or not current. They also said that the youth were not interested, and that only middle-aged people who’d actually lived through the 1990s would be interested. He was happy to see that this was not true (75% of their audience in Russia was in the 18-28 age bracket, and the film was #1 for a while in Moscow and St. Petersburg). Further, it has resonated with youth all over the world: I think most people in the audience last night were in love, and it got rave reviews in the Mumbai Film Festival too.

Overall: you should see this film when it comes near you, or when it comes to your iTunes/Love Film/DVD-ordering service.

If you want to know more, you can join the Facebook page (apparently if you go back to April, you can see Pelevin’s own comments on the movie (they’re positive)).



  1. I’ve only now realised you had this lovely blog…will certainly be checking out every now and again

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