Arkanar: A Report from the Interior (2016, rev. 2018)

The Russian filmmaker Aleksei German’s posthumously released film, Hard to Be A God, is set on a planet that has been colonised by Earth in the distant future. The planet’s capital city, Arkanar, has undergone an atrocious devolution and is locked in a Dark Age virtually indistinguishable from 9th Century Europe, thanks to an anti-intellectual guerrilla movement that has shut down the university and is systematically murdering anybody with the slightest desire for knowledge. We follow the journey of Don Rumata, a member of a team of scientist-emissary-spies sent from Earth tasked with laying the foundations of a new Renaissance without disturbing Arkanar’s volatile political situation; watching his struggle against the wilfully stupid population, and an environment so poverty-stricken it threatens to consume all hope in his mission.

 

The defining feature of the film is its depiction of Arkanar's unbearable squalor. As we are thrown unprepared into the city's streets, alleys, and hovels, almost every surface is caked in the most unimaginable filth. The degradation and confusion is magnified by German’s non-sequitur-ridden script and claustrophobic cinematography, taking a first-person point-of-view in which the camera is obstructed, pestered and harassed at every turn.

Duration: 12 Minutes

Instrumentation: Tuba and Live Electronics

World Première: 13th August 2016, Lichtenbergschule, Darmstadt; Jack Adler-McKean (Tuba), Steven Daverson (Electronics)

US Premiere: 10th February 2017, Spectrum, New York, NY; Jack Adler-McKean, Steven Daverson

World Première (Revised Version): 23rd July 2018, Lichtenbergschule, Darmstadt; Jack Adler-McKean, Steven Daverson

UK Première: 31st October 2019, Carole Nash Recital Hall, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester; Jack Adler-Mckean, Steven Daverson

 All content copyright © Steven Daverson 2020  unless otherwise stated.