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Pro Urodov i Lyudej (Of Freaks and Men) (1998)

Original Title : Pro urodov i lyudej
Director : Aleksei Balabanov
Writer : Aleksei Balabanov
Genre : Drama
Country : Russia
Language : Russian
Producer : Oleg Botogov , Sergei Selyanov
Music : √Čric Neveux
Photography : Sergei Astakhov
IMDB ID : 0156849
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poster for "Pro Urodov i Lyudej  (Of Freaks and Men)" by Aleksei Balabanov (1998)
Pro Urodov i Lyudej (Of Freaks and Men) (1998) - Aleksei Balabanov
 

Starring

¬Sergei Makovetsky Yohan
¬Dinara Drukarova Lisa
¬Anzhelika Nevolina Ekaterina Kirillovna (as Lika Nevolina
¬Viktor Sukhorukov Victor Ivanovich
¬Aleksei De Kolia (as De Alyosha
¬Chingiz Tsydendabayev Tolia
¬Vadim Prokhorov Putilov
¬Aleksandr Mezentsev Doctor Stasov
¬Igor Shibanov Engineer Radlov
¬Darya Lesnikova Grunia
¬Tatiana Polonskaia Daria
¬Olga Staumit Nurse
¬Richard Bogutskii Notary
¬Valeri Krishtapenko Owner of photographic studio
¬Evgenii Erokhin Priest
¬Yuri Galtsev Impresario
¬Boris Smolkin Photographer at studio
¬Mikhail Tryasorukov Administrator
¬Valeri Filonov Engine driver
¬Anvar Libabov Floor attendant
¬Aleksandr Shutov Floor attendant
¬Aleksei Zlobin Waiter
¬Irina Rakshina Liza's aunt
¬Valentina Viushina Liza's aunt
¬Tatiana Karetina Liza's aunt
¬Klim Bakhilov Nephew
¬Iulia Pestretsova Liza as a child
¬Krisina Skvarek Nurse
¬Valeria Iakovieva Model at studio
¬Valeriya Yakovleva Model at studio
¬Elena Rumiantseva Model at studio
¬Natalia Dupliakova Model at studio
¬Lyudmila Arzhannikova Old prostitute
¬Elena Khrustaleva Young prostitute
¬Yelena Khrustalyova Young prostitute
¬Ilya Shakunov Man in shop window
 

Comments

A great feel for the unruly elements of the psyche but very bleak This works on a dreamlike level rather than as a coherent story: the content is contained in the images and the relationships of the characters. Some of the events seem oddly motivated but make sense when seen as part of a tapestry. What is the tapestry depicting? The film is about the appropriation of a certain reality (which I would read as a psychological reality) by certain unruly elements in human nature. Those elements desire pleasure in pain and seek no relationships outside the exploitative. Amongst the central characters are a pair of Siamese twins but the filmmakers have gone out of their way to show that all of the characters are mental and emotional `freaks'. What is interesting is that none of the characters who are exploited are really victims - they contain the seeds of their involvement in the central pornographic filmmaking within them from the first. This is even true of the Siamese, one of whom is innately drawn towards debauchery. The film is excellent at giving us the feel of a situation in which bad elements of the psyche rule. It is a bleak exercise - the characters who seem to escape to the West cannot escape their perverse desires (which bring them no happiness) and the idealist filmmaker portrayed is finally a sell-out. In that sense I found the film too bleak - there has to be some hope in the world! Maybe the filmmaker is attacking what has gone on in Russia since the fall of Communism: with the country run by gangsters and the people willingly being exploited. This film feels amazing but leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
 
poster for "Pro Urodov i Lyudej  (Of Freaks and Men)"
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Pro Urodov i Lyudej (Of Freaks and Men) (1998) - Aleksei Balabanov
poster for "Pro Urodov i Lyudej  (Of Freaks and Men)"
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Pro Urodov i Lyudej (Of Freaks and Men) (1998) - Aleksei Balabanov
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