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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 : Éric 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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