Pro urodov i lyudey (Of Freaks and Men) (1998)
Alexlei Balabanov (Brother) directed this period film, set in turn-of-the-century St. Petersburg, where a middle-class family and an upper-class family both become intertwined with pornographic photographer Johann (Sergei Makovetsky). Dr. Stasov (Alexandr Mezentsev) treats railroad engineer Radlov (Igor Shibanov). Johann takes an interest in the doctor's maid (Tatyana Polonskaya) and Radlov's daughter (Dinara Drukarova), Johann's sister Grunya (Darya Lesnikova) is Radlov's mistress, Johann is thwarted in his lust for Lisa -- until Grunya takes over Radlov's estate after the engineer's death. Filmed with a tint to resemble sepia photographs of the period. Shown in the Directors Fortnight section at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Pro urodov i lyudey (Of Freaks and Men)
Audience Reviews for Pro urodov i lyudey (Of Freaks and Men)
Near beginning of the 20th century in St Petersburg, a man named Johann and his assistants specialize in the production of erotic photographs depicting the floggings of bare-bottomed women, then turn to trapping women into their sadomasochistic fantasies that are filmed for later exhibition for paying customers. A disturbing, erotically creepy, funny and touching film, entirely sepia-toned, will be in my head for a while.
From Russian director Balabanov comes a story of bizarre early pornographers that
may not appeal to all tastes, but for its originality and style, it must be seen.
In learning how to be a photographer, Putilov(Vadim Prokhorov) went into deep debt to Johann(Sergey Makovetskiy), a mobster, who even frightens Victor(Viktor Sukhorukov), one of his henchmen. Even though Johann specializes in marketing pornographic films, he has a crush on Liza(Dinara Drukorava), the same as Putilov who Radlov(Igor Shibanov), an engineer and Liza's father, would almost definitely prefer as a potential son-in-law.
"Of Freaks and Men" is a simultaneously sad and perverse movie. While partially being about how progress is not always a good thing as seen through the lack of imagination in pornography, lying just beneath the surface of polite society, the movie has even more to say about modern day Russia. That's even though the film mostly resembles a silent movie, not just in its soundless opening sequences, but also later as it is shot in sepia tones with intertitles throughout. All of which is in the service of showing who the freaks really are.
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