6.7/10
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Hard to Be a God (2013)

Trudno byt bogom (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Sci-Fi | 27 February 2014 (Russia)
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1:55 | Trailer
A group of scientists are sent to the planet Arkanar to help the local civilization, which is in the Medieval phase of its own history, to find the right path to progress. Their task is a ... See full summary »

Director:

Aleksey German

Writers:

Arkadiy Strugatskiy (novel), Boris Strugatskiy (novel) | 2 more credits »
10 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Leonid Yarmolnik ... Don Rumata
Aleksandr Chutko Aleksandr Chutko ... Don Reba
Yuriy Tsurilo ... Baron Pampa
Evgeniy Gerchakov ... Budakh
Valentin Golubenko ... Arata
Leonid Timtsunik ... Arima
Natalya Moteva Natalya Moteva ... Ari
Nikita Strukov Nikita Strukov ... Kusis
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gali Abaydulov
Yuriy Ashikhmin Yuriy Ashikhmin ... Rab
Remigijus Bilinskas Remigijus Bilinskas ... Voin (as Remigiyus Bilinskas)
Valeriy Boltyshev Valeriy Boltyshev ... don Ripat
Vasiliy Domrachyov ... vozchik Rumaty
Lev Eliseev
Valeriy Guryanov Valeriy Guryanov ... Monakh
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Storyline

A group of scientists are sent to the planet Arkanar to help the local civilization, which is in the Medieval phase of its own history, to find the right path to progress. Their task is a difficult one: they cannot interfere violently and in no case can they kill. The scientist Rumata tries to save the local intellectuals from their punishment and cannot avoid taking a position. As if the question were: what would you do in God's place? Director's statement Aleksei wanted to make this film his entire life. The road was a long one. This is not a film about cruelty, but about love. A love that was there, tangible, alive, and that resisted through the hardest of conditions. Written by Svetlana Karmalita/Rome Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the prime inspirations for Ari Aster's "Midsommar" See more »

Connections

Featured in Arkadiy Strugatskiy v Kanske (2016) See more »

User Reviews

A triumph of set design but. . .
15 May 2015 | by jrd_73See all my reviews

Aleski German's Hard to be a God may be the most difficult science fiction film ever made. It is a film that will divide viewers. I was excited to see the film since I had liked the Strugatsky brothers' novel that the film is based upon. In addition, the film had been compared to Andrei Tarkovsky who directed one of my favorite films, Stalker, also based on a novel by Arkaday and Boris Strugatsky (Roadside Picnic). After about a half hour of watching Hard to be a God, I was somewhat less excited.

On a strictly visual level, Hard to be a God is amazing. The film takes place on a planet, similar to Earth, that is going through its middle ages. Aleski German gives the viewer this world unfiltered. The set design is the film's strongest asset. Mud, eternally gray skies, strange armor with demonic horns, and faces, faces like a out of a fresco, these keep one watching. The only two films I can think of by way of comparison are Fellini Satyricon and Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible. Hard to be a God lags behind those two films (Aleski German is not on the level as Federico Fellini or Sergei Eisenstein). Furthermore, German spends so much time on the set design that he neglects the story.

The Strugatsky brothers created a story about power plays and showed how a scientist became a killer. The background was the fictional middle ages. Aleski German places the middle ages in the foreground and shoves the story into the background. True, German keeps much of the Strugatsky's story but downplays them to such a degree that viewers unfamiliar with the novel will have a hard time following it. The royal assassinations which begin the violence happen off screen. The love affair between the protagonist and the peasant girl, which leads to the turning point of the book, is barely in the film. Only one thing interests the director: the world he has created. It is an amazing world. I certainly cannot dismiss a film that looks like this.

I am glad that I struggled through all three hours of Hard to be a God once. However, I think for repeat viewings one needs to have something more than just grand, moving pictures. One needs either deep themes (like in Tarkovsky's Stalker), or an intriguing character, or simply a good story. Set design will only take a film so far.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

Russia

Language:

Russian

Release Date:

27 February 2014 (Russia) See more »

Also Known As:

Hard to Be a God See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$28,608

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,299,035
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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