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2013 Cannes Film Festival Predictions: Alexei Guerman’s Hard to Be a God

#55. Alexei Guerman’s Hard to Be a God

Gist: While it may possibly be released as History of the Arkanar Massacre, we’re hoping this retains the same name as the novel it’s based on by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. On another planet, currently going through its Middle Ages, a group of historians from Earth are living there pretending to be normal members of the populous. The protagonist, Don Rumata, is disgusted and disturbed by some of the atrocities he witnesses, but the earthlings are unable to intervene so that they do not change the course of the history of the planet. They are there only to help and protect the few individuals that seem different from everyone else, whose knowledge can help benefit the rest of the planet. Rumata is charged with finding a specific person being held against his will.

Prediction: The infrequent working Aleksei German has a mere handful of titles to his name from a period spanning from 1968-1998, and his works are not easy to get a hold of in the US. This latest one started production in 2000, and German passed away in February 2013, so we’re hoping this finally gets to see the light of day, as it sounds like a sci-fi epic akin to something like Zulawski’s On the Silver Globe. If we’re lucky, and it’s announced in the lineup, we’re thinking a Special Screening.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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