One of the most ambitious film adaptations in Russia’s recent cinema probably will be left unfinished. Aleksei German’s History of the Arkanar Massacre (История арканарской резни) is a science fiction film based on the book “Hard to Be a God” by the Russian authors Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. German started working on this project in 2000 and since then the film has passed many different stages that stalled the shooting and the production. It was reported that the shootings where over and for the last couple years the film remained in post-production phase. There have been many rumors about the official screening but none of them was true. The last one was about a premiere during last year’s Cannes Film Festival but since the death of Alexei German, a few days ago, no one can confirm any new date.
According to the official reports the plot of the film is:
On another planet, that goes through its middle ages, a group of historians from Earth live pretending to be average people. The main character, known as Don Rumata, is disgusted by cruelties he observes on everyday basis but is prohibited by his superiors from interfering and thus changing the natural course of history of the planet. The only thing the historians have a right to do is to protect and help few individuals who seem to be different from everybody else and can benefit the entire planet through their knowledge and ideas. Rumata has to find one of these people, Budakh, and rescue him from the hands of Don Reba, a grey cardinal ruling for a weak king and later, an insane tyrant.
Through the years only a couple of stills have been revealed to the public and some shooting fragments that were released 2 years ago.
It is almost impossible to predict whether this film will ever be presented to the audience.
UPDATE: Aleksei German Ml. released a statement after his father death. According to him the film is almost ready and there are only some issues with sound re-recording to be fixed. He will finish his father work and the film will be released soon. History of the Arkanar Massacre would be a great and honest film as his father intended.