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Arguably the most radical, defiantly uncompromising Russian director to emerge since the collapse of communism in that country, Aleksei Balabanov, who died suddenly this year at age 54, captured the Wild West atmosphere of the post-Soviet era in movies that oozed caustic irony, macabre humor, and outré violence. Moving between offbeat experimental works and more mainstream, but equally personal, genre films, Balabanov—already a cult sensation in Russia—is ripe for discovery. All films directed by Aleksei Balabanov.
Balabanov’s narrative debut is a disorienting head-trip adaptation of the Beckett play.
This eccentric take on Kafka’s absurdist novel is a swirl of surreal imagery.
A perverse and fascinating black comedy about pornography in early-1900s Russia.
A young doctor succumbs to a crippling morphine addiction in this savagely funny Bulgakov adaptation.
Two hoodlums scramble to recover a suitcase full of heroin in this Tarantino-esque action joyride.
Balabanov’s riveting nightmare allegory of the Soviet years is a sickly funny horror-show.
Balabanov’s breakout hit features a young man who gets sucked into a St. Petersburg crime ring.
Baby-faced hit man Danila heads to Chicago in the blood-soaked sequel to Balabanov’s mega-hit.
A haunting, folkloric tale of passion and betrayal set in a remote Siberian leper colony.
Tarkovsky meets Kaurismäki in this deadpan riff on the filmmaker’s revered hit Stalker.
A furnace tender casually disposes of corpses in this unsettlingly hilarious black comedy.
Balabanov’s surprising foray into romantic drama centers on an eccentric relationship.
Balabanov’s gripping Chechen War action drama has the structure and tension of a Western.