An Earth scientist is sent to a planet that resembles our own during the Middle Ages—and he must not interfere in the planet’s political or historical development. Treated by the planet’s natives as a kind of divinity, he is both godlike and impotent in the face of chaos and brutality.
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Aleksei German's final attack on totalitarianism is a film easy to admire but very difficult to like. The film progresses dragging the viewer deeper and deeper into the human cesspool created depicting its world as one of misery, bodily fluids, despair and Fellinieque grotesques. Its' eventual grand guignol climax unfortunately nears Pythonesque parody but fascinates all the more.
"The bucket stood there stinking in a corner in a buzzing of flies in the dimness of the little locked stone room. I thought: Is this a metaphor? Then a nearby bird said, 'Plink, plink, plink.' Ah! I thought, explanations are unnecessary. So I felt a little better until the naked headless tax-collector appeared, writhing with maggots as always. Never mind, I thought, this is only illusion." (Hoban, Pilgermann)
I think you might know what I'm going to say about this film since I've watched it today at last. (Bizarre, gross, funny, violent, sexual, very long, and wonderfully-crafted. Kinda makes you think it's impossible to imagine that it's hardly a sci-fi film once you start watching.)
art is a hole in the ass, you can see paintings with shit in it, poems with lot of vomit in it, musics with a bunch of puker in it. these filthy idiot medieval guys is too stupid, so they noticed the camera and play with it, genius. its out-of-earth neorealism.
This movie should have won more awards. What an intense labor of love! The cinematography, the production design. Most of all, it should win an award for whoever came up with all the business. And by business I mean "actions other than dialogue performed by actors." It was literally non-stop. You couldn't take your eyes away for one moment. Chickens flying, snot rockets, spitting, puking. Absolutely glorious.
One of a kind film. At once frustrating, disorienting, profound, silly, revolting & sublime. German denies the audience everything we might need to understand his story or to identify with his characters; forgoing all but the most basic exposition & even having important developments occur off-screen. Conventional ratings are irrelevant; love it or hate it, this is a truly immersive work, once seen, never forgotten.
Never seen anything like this. Epic medieval sci-fi gross-out comedy. Not a single minute of this film goes by without someone shitting, puking or spitting, usually on each other. The incredible set design and costumes are only surpassed by the relentless, voluminous amount of sweat and other bodily fluids they are covered in. The residents of this futuristic, backwards planet worship filth above all else! Must-see !
German was an important Russian filmmaker but with "Khrustalyov" he rose to a level of linguistic over-surplus rising to the role of a scientific cinematic communication, overloading it with symbols and signifiers, constantly repeated. In this film, with the aggravating circumstance of an attraction for the eschatological encomium to the brink of obsession. I admire its consistency, but, alas, to me is unbearable.