Hard to Be a God

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    Hard to Be a God

    Trudno Byt' Bogom

    Directed by



    177 min

    • Russian

    Drama, Sci-fi

    A group of scientists is sent to the planet Arkanar to help the local civilization, which is in the Medieval phase of its own history, to find the right path to progress. Their task is a difficult one: they cannot interfere violently and in no case can they kill. The scientist Rumata tries to save the local intellectuals from their punishment and cannot avoid taking a position. As if the question were: what would you do in God’s place?



    Leonid Yarmolnik
    Yuriy Tsurilo
    Natalia Moteva
    Dmitriy Vladimirov
    Laura Lauri
    Aleksandr Ilin
    Evegenyi Gerchakov
    Aleksej Jurevič German
    Svetlana Karmalita
    Vladimir Ilyin
    Uriy Klimenko
    Irina Gorokhovskaya
    Marija Amosova
    Victor Lebedev

    Director's Statement

    Aleksei wanted to make this film his entire life. The road was a long one. This is not a film about cruelty, but about love. A love that was there, tangible, alive, and that resisted through the hardest of conditions.



    This is visionary cinema of truly loopy, uncompromised grandeur

    Neil Young, IndieWIRE

    Alongside the scale of German's ambition and the casual, old-school mastery of his execution, every other new feature in the Rotterdam program looks like pretty small beer.

    Neil Young, IndieWIRE

    Hard to Be a God is a monstrous and strikingly Russian Orthodox huis clos

    Olaf Möller, Cinema Scope

    ... fine theatrical choreography and mesmerizing imagery

    Yoana Pavlova, Festivalists.com

    Veteran actor Yarmolnik gives the performance of a lifetime as the raging Don Rumata

    Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

    Aleksej Jurevic German

    Aleksej Jurevic German


    I regard myself as an unrealized, and, on the whole, failed, unhappy man.

    Aleksei Yuryevich German was born in Leningrad in 1938, the son of writer Yuri Pavlovich German. He earned a degree in theatre direction. In 1968 with Aronov he made THE SEVENTH COMPANION (Sedmoy sputnik), a film that was banned. In 1969, the same fate befell TRIAL ON THE ROAD (Proverka na dorogach), inspired by a novel written by his father. In 1976, he directed TWENTY DAYS WITHOUT WAR (Dvadtsat dney bez voyny), based on the novel by Simonov, who saved the film from the censors. In 1984, German again turned to one of his father’s novels to make MY FRIEND IVAN LAPSHIN (Moy drug Ivan Lapshin), which was also banned. In the 1990s, German directed KHRUSTALYOV, MY CAR! (Khrustalyov, mashinu!), presented in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. His last work, HARD TO BE A GOD Trudno Byt Bogom), based on a novel by the Strugatsky brothers, took fifteen years to make. Aleksei German died in February 2013, and the film was completed by Svetlana Karmalita and by their son Aleksei German Jr.