In the wake of the Russian revolution, Professor Preobrazhensky rescues a starving dog from the gutter, and attempts to transform him into a man. Based on Mikhail Bulgakov's novel of the same name.
Professor Preobrazhensky and his colleague place some human parts into a dog named Sharik. Soon the dog transforms into a human.
This movie (and yes, it's a movie - it was shot as a two-parter, but the two parts together come down to slightly more than 2 hours) is one of the unsung masterpieces of world cinema. A very well-mannered, and yet at the same time absolutely savage denunciation of the Soviet regime and the type of person who flourished under it, the film is a faithful adaptation of the long-banned eponymous book by Mikhail Bulgakov.
The sets are flawless, and the director made the brilliant decision to film in monochrome sepia, adding a feel of authenticity where a late-80's washed-out color incarnation would have all but ruined the film. I won't say much about the plot, which deserves to be discovered by the viewer himself, but the performances are true Oscar material; special mentions go out to E. Evstigneev, who plays the old professor with such presence, gravitas and kind wisdom that with barely a word or a gesture, he ends up stealing every scene he's in. The second, of course, is Creature/Sharikov, who, played to horrifying perfection by V. Tolokonnikov, is by far more frightening a character than Hannibal Lecter, because not only does he exist in real life - entire countries have been ran by men like him throughout history, with all that ensues.
Director: Vladimir Bortko
Writers: Nataliya Bortko (script), Mikhail A. Bulgakov (story) (as Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov)
Stars: Evgeniy Evstigneev, Vladimir Tolokonnikov, Boris Plotnikov