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St. Petersburg, early 20th century. The handsome and secretive Johann specializes in shooting erotic pictures depicting the floggings of bare-bottomed women. With the help of his assistants, the photographic creations gradually penetrate the peaceful households of two upper-class Russian families.
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.