The Lionshare.

Back in 1991, when yours truly was a starving comedian down and out in Los Angeles, he went to his local art house movie theatre and saw what’s since been hailed as the cinematic anthem of Generation X — Richard Linklater’s Slacker.

This week, almost 20 years later, he had the distinct pleasure of downloading and watching The Lionshare, which could arguably be called Slacker for the file-sharing generation… except that it’s a much better film.

The Lionshare gets its title from a fictitious P2P network that becomes a backdrop for a peek into the lives of a group of modern-day twenty-somethings. Like Slacker, The Lionshare is naturalistic, and the acting entirely believable to the point of being painful — in as much as unrequited crushes and such tend to be.

And very much unlike Slacker, The Lionshare has a point. Though critics on IMDb call it file-sharing propaganda, I think the film is both subtle and effective at showing the stake we all have in the media we consume, whether it’s paid for or not. There’s no finger-wagging here, as the sharing (or piracy, as per your point of view) isn’t put in any kind of judgmental light. It’s just there, in the background, but as pervasive as the media on real P2P networks tends to be.

As with Nasty Old People and Ink, the other BitTorrent breakout hits of 2009, The Lionshare can be downloaded and enjoyed free of charge. I went a step further and made a small donation via a PayPal link on the film’s site. After watching it you may feel compelled to do the same.

But definitely watch it, at the very least…