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Photo of Aleksey Balabanov
Photo of Aleksey Balabanov

Aleksey Balabanov

“People have always watched and will watch films about bandits.”

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    BROTHER

    Aleksey Balabanov Russia, 1997

    The film that made enfant terrible Aleksey Balabanov’s name, Brother was a domestic smash hit. Almost single-handedly igniting the notion of a homegrown genre cinema, this morally ambiguous gangster movie with a killer soundtrack embodies the mercenary dog-eat-dog spirit of Russia’s “Wild Nineties.”

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    MORPHINE

    Aleksey Balabanov Russia, 2008

    Set on the cusp of the 1917 revolution, Morphine examines the grisly practicalities of provincial medical care. Based on the autobiographical novels of Mikhail Bulgakov, and written by the late Sergey Bodrov Jr, Aleksey Balabanov’s haunting drama is a descent into a dark night of the Russian soul.

    OF FREAKS AND MEN

    Aleksey Balabanov Russia, 1998

    Of Freaks and Men gleefully drags any high-minded notion of Russian cinema back to the gutter from whence it came. An early-cinema pastiche luridly steeped in pornography and madness, this fabulously dark, Dostoyevskian comedy cemented Aleksey Balabanov’s subversive reputation for cultural mischief.

    BROTHER 2

    Aleksey Balabanov Russia, 2000

    Capturing the head-on collision of Russian and American values at the start of a new century, this superlative sequel wryly tackles questions of personal agency and bravado. Interrogating stereotype with Aleksey Balabanov’s savage wit, Brother 2 subversively needles the notion of national identity.

    DEAD MAN'S BLUFF

    Aleksey Balabanov Russia, 2005

    Playing like a comically heightened subversion of his two Brother films, this hypermodern neo-noir finds Aleksey Balabanov taking the Russian gangster film to new heights of self-awareness. Riotously funny, and morally ambivalent, Dead Man’s Bluff filters the zeitgeist through the prism of genre.

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