Released in 1932, Freaks tells the story of a family of circus ‘freaks’ alongside their ‘normal’ counterparts. It centres on a marriage between group leader, Hans (a dwarf), and Cleopatra, who is the circus beauty. What appears as a coming together of two people in love, is actually for something entirely different. When Hans’ troupe of ‘freaks’ discover her motives, things take a turn for the worse.
A tale of love, acceptance and honour, when considering the time, Freaks is extremely progressive. We are never laughing at the afflicted; it even addresses this within 2 minutes; Hans states, when asked why people laugh at him ‘…most big people do, they don’t realize that I’m a man with the same feelings they have.’
It’s only 64 minutes, but Freaks tackles contemporary issues of acceptance in a more breathtakingly honest way than anything released since.