After the break-up of the USSR Moscow opens its doors to foreign investors: finding a career is primarily a question of making clever use of an opportunity. Babylen Tatarsky starts out as a tobacconist, but an encounter with a former classmate leads him to the world of advertising. Pepsi Cola, Sprite, Parliament cigarettes – such products need to reach the consumer fast. Babylen turns out to be good at his job, and he gradually finds his way into the kind of PR which serves to promote not only goods, but people in social roles as well. In addition to the gloss of success, however, he is also driven by his passion for Near Eastern mythology, an experience heightened through use of hallucinogenic substances. This open-handed adaptation of Victor Pelevin’s cult postmodern novel caused a major stir after its screening in Russian cinemas. One reviewer declared: “This film successfully blows your mind.” –KVIFF
Visually spectacular and the performances were great, with an unexpectedly high-energy reception from the (mostly Russian-speaking) crowd at TIFF. But, this film is not without its flaws - mainly that it feels far longer than its actual length, and the story is too nonsensical to follow at times. Some references were very funny - such as "Brother" - but I suppose a lot went straight over my head, as a non-Russian.
I hope the success of this film will bring more Pelevin novels to the big screen. I thought Ginzburg captured the story well. I would like to see Omon Ra next.
A roundup for the closing weekend.