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Hard to Be a God(Трудно быть богом)

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Russia · 2013
2h 57m
Director Aleksey German
Starring Leonid Yarmolnik, Yuriy Tsurilo, Natalya Moteva, Aleksandr Chutko
Genre Drama, Science Fiction

A group of scientists is sent to the planet Arkanar to help the local civilization, which is in the Medieval phase of its own history, to find the path to progress. Their task is difficult: They cannot kill or interfere violently in any way as they try to save the local intellectuals from punishment.

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Slant Magazine by

Aleksei German's final film is choreographed with a Felliniesque social grandeur, but tethered to a neorealist's eye for detail and quotidian matters of social justice.


The Hollywood Reporter by Deborah Young

While there are implicit references to the horrors of the Soviet and post-Soviet state and to the 20th century in general, this monstrously overflowing film seems to aim even higher.

100 by Glenn Kenny

A fantastical examination of man’s inhumanity to man, and as replete as it is with persistent visceral disgust, it also pulses with intelligence, a mordant compassion, and yes, incredible wit.


Variety by Jay Weissberg

In essence it’s an historical artifact created in a time capsule: impressive in its way, yet its retardataire mannerisms require more distance before judgment can be passed on whether it’s a major work engaged in earlier forms, or an intriguing footnote trapped in a spent modality.


Village Voice by Michael Atkinson

Textually, the setting's brutalist conflation between the far future and the distant past makes the film timeless, an elusive fable told with the viscous immediacy of a life on the diseased edge of civilization.


The New York Times by Nicolas Rapold

Mr. German was just as stubborn in sticking to his personal vision (and revisions) as he was innovative in his storytelling, and he’s left behind a final opus that is hard to shake.


The New Yorker by Richard Brody

The late director Aleksei Guerman’s last film is a grandly arbitrary carnival of neo-medieval depravity. It’s also a mudpunk allegory of Russian barbarism and backwardness.


Time Out London by Trevor Johnston

Hard to Be a God is an endurance test for its protagonist and audience, yet the reward is an unforgettable cinematic experience and a timely insight into the need to remain human in a world of carnage.

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