Monday, 26 April 2010

Alexei Balabanov: Of Freaks and Men - Про уродов и людей(1998)

Of Freaks and Men (1998)

Written and Directed by: Aleksei Balabanov Aleksey Balabanov
Release Date: May 20, 1998
Cast:Aleksei De, Anzhelika Nevolina, Chingiz Tsydendabayev, Dinara Drukarova, Sergei Makovetsky

Awards : 

Best directing Annual award of the Guild of Historians of Cinema and Film Critics, Moscow (Russia), 1999
Best Cinematography Sergey ASTAKHOV , Annual award of the Guild of Historians of Cinema and Film Critics, Moscow (Russia), 1999
Best Set Decoration Vera ZELINSKAYA , Annual award of the Guild of Historians of Cinema and Film Critics, Moscow (Russia), 1999
Best actor Sergey MAKOVETSKY , Annual award of the Guild of Historians of Cinema and Film Critics, Moscow (Russia), 1999
Best feature film "NIKA" Prizes, Moscow (Russia), 1998
Best directing "NIKA" Prizes, Moscow (Russia), 1998
Prix spécial du jury au Festival de Sotchi, 1998

Of Freaks and Men (1998)

In a week of films intent on telling you what you know already, Alexei Balabanov's proto-Freudian bad dream Of Freaks and Men stands out as a compelling experience, sinuously original and deeply refreshing - although refreshing is perhaps not the exact word for this uniquely unsettling movie. Balabanov's brutal study of modern Russian gangsterism, Brother, is already on release here, and now this director's later picture marks him out as a distinctive and very remarkable talent.

Of Freaks and Men (1998)

Shot in a glittering, wintry monochrome, which attains a heavy sepia tint, Of Freaks and Men is set in turn-of-the-century St Petersburg. It imagines the bourgeois origins of Russia's fledgling porn industry: specifically that catering for images of flagellation and sado-masochism - catching this industry on the cusp of its movement from still photography to rudimentary moving pictures. The film's periodic silent-movie captions and its daguerreotype-hue are in homage to both media.

For this flourishing new porn culture, Balabanov invents a milieu of secrecy, exoticism and aberrant strangeness. The result is a disturbing, erotically creepy, funny and touching film whose images will live in your memory, writes Peter Bradshaw...




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