Some Sort of a Masterpiece ?
A unique film indeed, and 13 years in the making, from
the very special artfilm maker Aleksei Y. German.
An absolutely beautifully shot sci-fi fantasy drama about a medieval
looking village or kingdom on Arkanar, but it's
not a historic movie as it takes place on another planet, and that planet's
name is Arkanar. Filmed in black & white.
"This is not the Earth. It's another planet. Same
as the Earth, but about 800 years behind .... and 3 dozens of scientists
sent there". The scientists, the space travellers,
were sent there because someone thought there had been an outbreak of
Art on the planet - the Renaissance. But they're wrong, very wrong.
The scientists are there to observe, they can not interfer with the
course of Arkanar's history. The planet, a miserable
place of constant fog and rain and with a society drenched in mud and
filth with unpleasant disfigured looking people,
vile and filled with hatred. Like once a medieval society on Earth but
in no way advancing towards a Renaissance, instead
going in the opposite direction. A regression has taken place where
smart people, "smartarses", are being persecuted and
books are being burned. Instead brutality, idiocy and filthiness are
being advocated by the rulers.
The observers, the earthlings, has adapted and changed
into more animal-like men. One of them, Don Rumata (Leonid
Yarmolnik) lives in his castle and are considered by the locals to be
born of a God and he may not return to Earth.
The film look absolutely stunning, a visual nightmare
of a world with things, objects everywhere, with people looking
into the camera and with talking, conversations going on everywhere,
in front of or outside of the camera. Something
like a mix of Andrei Tarkovskij and swedish director and artist Marie
Louise De Geer Bergenstråhle, and that's a strange
one of a mix indeed. The film is filled with ugly annoying hysterical
people and probably almost everyone from Russia's
strange-looking/disfigured population has got a part in this film.
So, yes, it's a hard film to watch but you will certainly
remember it for a long time if not for the rest of your life, either
you like it or hate it, and it may be considered to be some sort of
The DVD is presented in 1.66:1 ratio, black & white,
and a 5.1 DTS-HD MA russian audio with english subtitles.
Extras: Introduction by Svetlana Karmalita co-script writer and wife
of German (15 minutes in russian with subs),
interview with Aleksei German Jr. in Berlin 2015 (10 minutes, russian
with subs) the son of German and a filmmaker also
and who finished the production of the film when his father died, The
History of the Arkanar massacre: Critic Daniel
Bird about the history and production of the film (28 minutes in english),
The Unknown Genius: Critic Michael Brooke
about the career of Aleksei German (34 minutes in english), stills gallery,
trailer and a Booklet with texts