Reviews - Hard To Be A God
Hard To Be A God
Reviewed By Vaughan Ames
'Hard to be a God' had won awards, but the fact that they were mainly in its home country of Russia should possibly have warned us. The film is 3 hours long, in black and white, and in Russian; maybe this too was a bridge too far! The plot – and it was pretty hard to discern one at all – was about a group of scientists in the future who travel to a distant planet which is a clone of Earth but stuck in the Medieval era. Apparently their role was to try to help the planet progress, without any violent interference.
Fortunately the film starts with a voiceover introduction which told us the plot, otherwise I for one would have had no idea. There just seemed to be endless episodes of unconnected events, all set in the most amazing squalor, mud and filth you can imagine; this was not an easy film to watch in any sense.
There is no such thing as a bad film, only one YOU dont enjoy; to give a view from 2 others who enjoyed it more (and there were 5 people in the small audience who gave it a 5 star rating), one sent me an email saying "Isn't the film all about that one sentence in it: 'where would we be without the renaissance' ... the idea is all about watching a 'dark ages' society without challenging it, and as such ,the mire, the claustrophobia, the cruelty, all work..brilliantly I would venture... it is a masterwork.." The other said "It was a strange one, eh? Definitely like nothing else I've ever seen. Although I couldn't imagine myself watching it again, at least for a very long while, I find myself marvelling at it more and more as time goes on. So uncompromising". So you can please some of the people, some of the time..! Sorry, but I didn't get it at all.
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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.
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