History of the Arkanar Massacre Premiere
Last month there was article on Aleksei German’s last film, History of the Arkanar Massacre / Hard to Be God since he died before finishing this extravagant project. As we have earlier reported, according to his son Alexei German Jr., luckily the film misses just a final edit of sound for the official release. German Jr. also stated that the entire score and the sounds where recorded and well prepared before his father’s death and the film will be completed gradually following his vision.
Fortunately that information was true. Last week in Moscow the well-known newspaper Novaya Gazeta in order to celebrate its 20th anniversary and the 40 days of Aleksei German’s death has made a special premiere of the unedited film. The cinema was packed and there were even people sitting on the floor in order to watch this extraordinary adaptation of the Strugatsky brothers’s book Hard to Be God. The film had a duration of nearly three and a half hours and was prepared for more than 15 years.
Generally the reviews and reports that came from Russia are quite encouraging and some of them are even quite promising for the final version. There were of course some major and obvious technical problems, since there was no or bad sound in many parts, the narration was missing and duration of the film should be probably shortened. The critics described German’s work as a raw and quite naturalistic depiction of the Middle Ages and many of them agreed that it looked more like a painting rather than a film. In order to understand what kind of painting, the positively biased review of Snob magazine is pretty helpful; “Hard to Be God gives the impression of a black and white revival of a Hieronymus Bosch work.”