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Hard to Be a God

Aleksey German
Trudno byt’ Bogom
Russia 2013 / 177’

A world shaped by transgressions and human secretions. A procession of oppressed monsters emerge from the rain and dense fog. Towering above this barren land is the figure of don Rumata, an earthly envoy who, on the planet Arkanar, is to protect the sages from persecution by impostor gods. Aleksey German first wrote the outline for the script in 1968 based on a science-fiction novel by the Strugatskiy brothers. He reworked the script numerous times to ultimately start filming in 2000. He did not live to see the premiere of his last work, however, as he died in 2013, and the film was completed by his wife and son. The Russian director’s expressive vision, focused on the tiniest details of the set design, is not a late allegory of communism but rather an attempt to find a spark of hope in complete darkness. Monumental, but not epic, told from the point of view of an unfortunate man trying to get off the ground, this film is one of the most important screen adaptations of the works of the Strugatskiy brothers, joining Tarkovsky’s Stalker and Sokurov’s Days of the Eclipse.

Mariusz Mikliński

Aleksei German

Aleksey German was a Russian director and screenwriter, born in Leningrad in 1938. His father was the writer Yuri German, whose novels Trial on the Road and Ivan Lapshin he adapted for the screen. The former was held up by Soviet censors and waited many years before being published. In his films, German dealt the with subjects of war and life in the Stalinist era. He is also the father of the director Aleksey German Jr., whose films The Last Train and Garpastum will be familiar to New Horizons audiences. He died in St. Petersburg in 2013.  

Filmography

1967 Siódmy towarzysz / Sedmoy sputnik / The Seventh Companion

1971 Próba wierności / Proverka na dorogakh / Trial on the Road

1976 Dwadzieścia dni bez wojny / Dvadtsat dnej bez vojny / Twenty Days Without War

1986 Mój przyjaciel Iwan Łapszyn / Moj drug Ivan Lapshin / My Friend Ivan Lapshin

2013 Trudno być Bogiem / Trudno byt’ Bogom / Hard to Be a God

Cast & Crew

director Aleksey German
screenplay Aleksey German, Svetlana Karmalita (adaptation); Arkadiy Strugatskiy, Boris Strugatskiy (novel)
cinematography Vladimir Ilin, Yuri Klimenko
editing Irina Gorochovska, Maria Amosova
music Viktor Lebiediev
cast Leonid Yarmolnik, Dmitriy Vladimirov, Laura Lauri
producer Viktor Izvekov, Leonid Yarmolnik
production Sever Studio, Lenfilm Studio
sales Capricci Films
language Russian
colouration b&w