CULT FACTION

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Hard to Be a God (2013)

Directed by Aleksei German (who sadly died in February 2013 – his son Aleksey German Jr., and Svetlana Karmalita, completed the work on the film), Hard to Be a God is based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky and takes place in the city of Arkanar which is on a planet where life is still set in the Middle Ages. It seems that any sparks of science, culture, or social progress are smothered by those in power.

Thirty scientists from Earth have been sent to the planet to infiltrate Arkanar and live there incognito studying their society, and similar to Star Trek’s Prime Directive, they are forbidden from interfering and influencing Arkanar’s natural course. It is revealed that one of the Earth scientists has been living on the planet for twenty years disguised as a Noble Don named Rumata of Estor (played by Leonid Yarmolnik), who is believed by the locals to be the son of Goran (a diety). Rumata inhabits a large house filled with his a large number of slaves and servants and often takes part in duels which are often used to settle arguements. Rumata is forbidden to kill, so instead cuts off his opponents ears, though at night he dreams of murder.

As the film progresses Rumata is given the task of saving the intellectuals of Arkanar society who are being persecuted by the Gray troops under the leadership of Don Reba (Aleksandr Chutko), who has usurped power in the state…

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