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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 12.16.14] Russia scifi history arthouse

Over the years we've talked a bit about Aleksei German's film adaptation of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's novel "Hard to be A God." Heck, at one point we even had a bit of footage (now removed) from the film but the finished product never quite materialized. Until now.

The project, which has been in the making since the 60s and in the years since gone through various titles before landing on Hard to Be a God (taking the direct title of the book), finally went into production in 2000 and wrapped in 2006 before entering into a long haul editing session. The film finally emerged and screened out of competition last year at the Rome Film Festival, months after German's death in February of 2013.

On another planet, which goes through its middle ages, a group of historians from Earth live pretending to be average people. The main character, known as Don Rumata, is disgusted by cruelties he observes on everyday basis but is prohibited by his superiors from interfering and thus changing the natural course of history of the planet.

The only thing the historians have a right to do is to protect and help few individuals who seem to be different from everybody else and can benefit the entire planet through their knowledge and ideas. Rumata has to find one of these people, Budakh, and rescue him from the hands of Don Reba, a ruler of the country and an insane tyrant.

Kino Lorber has acquired the rights to the 170 minute, medieval sci-fi epic. Hard to Be a God will premiere with a two week run at New York's Anthology Film Archives beginning on January 30. From there the film will be available for booking before being released digitally and on VOD in later 2015. Though it's not mentioned, I expect a DVD/Blu-ray release will also follow.

I expect a trailer is forthcoming but for now, we've got the first 17 minutes from the movie along with a clip for your perusal.

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tallquasi (5 years ago) Reply

This is difficult to watch, because it pulls no punches about the dreariness of medieval life. I find the earlier attempt at this film a lot more accessible.

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