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 ...
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The film is set in St. Petersburg, Russia after the Russian revolution of 1917. Based on the eponymous book by Boris Lavrenev. Maj. General Yevgeni Pavlovich Adamov (Popov) was a lawyer in ... See full summary »
Another planet in the period of medieval times. An employee of the institute of experimental history from Earth, who is send under the name of noble don Rumata of Estor as a spy with a ... See full summary »
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
Absolutely brutal and innovative Masterpiece! 10/10
I waited for that movie since I watched "Khrustalev, my car!" 6 years ago. I remember being so impressed by intensity of every scene and surrealistic weirdness. I loved it! It was like Tarkovsky + Lynch + Kubrick + Jodorowski in many ways, but nonetheless so special, that none of these comparisons actually worked. And so, I waited. I read the book "Hard to be a god" by Strugatsky Brothers and I thought I am prepared and ready for the next and the biggest work of Alexey German. But what I saw on a premiere screening in Moscow last December was like a revelation, it has not only surpassed my expectations, it crushed me. In just 3 hours there was a new World, which grew and established in my mind, a new vision of cinema, a new image of Middle-ages that simply didn't exist. This is more than a movie, like many reviews claim, and I cannot agree more on that. I think German invented a new cinema language, in which most of the classic and well-established techniques are so thought-over, that they feel like serving a whole other purpose. Even simple scenes are shot and shown in a very difficult manner by camera moves, by vast number of layers of characters, objects etc. and very documentary-like sound effects. It's a new World for a viewer, shown in such intense detail and density, that it could be overwhelming; you might feel overloaded with visual and contextual information. You simply never saw anything like that! And it's hard to see! German achieved a tremendous goal here - he made the whole movie feel like it was shot in the actual Middle-ages of 8th century at most, and then this footage was brought to us and edited to a movie. You feel yourself in a full-dimensional World, where every object is placed and every character acts so masterfully, that it creates this feeling of the World actually living there behind the camera, behind that castle and that street. Every scene is putting you right there, constantly drawing you further in its realm. Characters look straight into the camera, like they are communicating with you. Being that the main character has a camera on his forehead, that is transmitting back to Earth, it makes you feel that you are actually watching that footage. In some ways, all this makes the movie absolutely furious in tempo and fierce towards the viewer, as it never tries to explain itself. It doesn't possess these usual genre traits, where characters are "marked" and are at "the brighter part of the frame", where you know what to look at and what is important right now. In Hard to be a God you are constantly distracted from the important, by a sudden person appearing at the front, doing some medieval sh**, or a part of an object blocking the view, or by someone speaking at the same time. "It's not the Earth, it's another planet. Just like the Earth, but 800 years ago", says the narrator at the beginning. You see people, from such a distant past, that you cannot imagine people like that! They are familiar with hanged people at the central square, they are not even aware of a term "privacy", they sh** right on the street, they kill just because someone knows how to read... Dead bodies, as***, snots and primitive, wild way of acting - all is creating a distance between you and them. But why showing all that? Isn't it too much, some may think? From my point of view, German just knew that it is the truth. Yes, it's dirty and gory, and definitely not some glossy, noble vision of Medieval, but that's how it was back in time, I believe. He told in many interviews, that he was always after truth in his movies and I must say - I never felt Middle-ages so real. Another definite achievement of this movie is that even with all these horrors, multi-layered thoughts and visions, we are given with a fantastic main character! Don Rumata that is believed to be a God by locals. He is from our times, from Earth. A scientist, who lives there, studies them, tries to guide their civilization towards the Renaissance. Yet, he cannot use force, or his knowledge on them. He can only observe. Director told that he wanted him to be your "bro", "friend" in this World, and I think it's something like that. He is the only normal person in the whole movie! He serves the role of a conductor between you and them. His reactions are humanely, and behavior is understandable, bringing emotions. Even though, sometimes he acts somewhat bizarre and insane, his jokes on these people are funny, but done in such circumstances that might draw some eyebrows up) People don't make fun of things like shown in the movie, yet Don Rumata is in special situation here. He is constructed in such a way, that he feels like he is a God, wandering, watching that World slowly evolve. He has a lot of gold, many slaves and he plays Jazz in the morning. He is trying to make these people better, but once current government is overthrown by the Religious Order, he cannot stay aside. In the end, movie takes you on a Monumental Journey through the World that is just slowly going through its path of the evolution. Hard to be a god, presents a huge challenge for a viewer to experience it yet stays crystal-clear in its message. It's a movie about emotions, that awake desperation, but at the same time give you the spark for determined actions, that complete the full revolution of an era, after which it starts again. By the end of the film, when the whole structure of it collapsed in my mind to the point of understanding the present, I knew that this movie is never to be forgotten. Masterpiece!
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