Tuesday, July 5, 2016

He - the Dragon (orig. Он – дракон / On -- Drakon) [2015]

MPAA (UR would be PG-13)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing
KinoPoisk.ru listing*
Kino-teatr.ru listing*
Megacritic.ru listing*

Afischa.ru (A. Dolin) review*
Film.ru (B. Ivanov) review*
FilmPro.ru (S. Sychev) review*
Izvestiya.ru (A. Pogova) review*
KinoAfischa.ru review*
Kino-Teatr.ru (A. Polibentseva) review*
Rossiyskaya Gazeta (A. Litovchenko) review*
Yaroslavl Region (M. Demidova) review*
Zavtra.ru (A. Belokurova) review*

TheHollywoodReporter.ru (D. Ostashevsky) review*

He - the Dragon (orig. Он – дракон / On -- drakon) [2015] [KP.ru]*[KT.ru]* (directed by Indar Dzhendubaev [IMDb] [KP.ru]*[KT.ru]* screenplay by Marina Dyachenko [IMDb] [KP.ru]*[KT.ru]*  and Sergei Dyachenko [IMDb] [KP.ru]* along with Indar Dzhendubaev [IMDb] [KP.ru]*[KT.ru]* and Aleksey Arsenev [IMDb] [KP.ru]* based on the novel The Rite (orig. Ритуал - Ritual) [GR-Ru]*[GR-Pl]*[WCat-Ru]* by RUSSIAN LANGUAGE writing UKRAINIAN fantasy/romance writers Marina and Sergei Dyachenko [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn]) is an often SPECTACULARLY SHOT (and with world-class CGI) "Twilight Saga"-like love story between a Russian princess Miroslava (played wonderfully by Mariya Poezzhaeva [IMDb] [KP.ru]*[KT.ru]*) and a tortured Dragon (played when in human form by Russian male supermodel Matvey Lykov [IMDb] [KP.ru]*[KT.ru]*[fr.wikip]*).

The film, which ranked as the #3 most popular Russian Film of 2015 by Russian Viewers at the MegaCritic.ru* website, serves the first stop of my 2016 Russian Film Tour, which as last year, I undertake in hopes of promoting a better / fuller understanding of peoples, here of Russia and its people, than has been generally been available to us in the West.

To the film ...

The story begins "in the Rus" still long before the Christian era.  We're told that the people of a particular region "of the Rus" were forced "back in those ancient days" to offer-up each year three young maidens to a Dragon.  These young maidens were dressed in their best (wedding or funeral?) garb, laid down in separate small boats and set adrift into a particular bend in a river, whereupon the Dragon would appear from the sky, swoop down and take-away one of the maidens to his far-away lair; the maiden taken away in this way would never be seen or heard from again...

Many years passed, and there came a time in which "The Dragon" _no longer appeared_ (to swoop down take away one said maiden).  What happened?  No one knew.  HOWEVER, _the ritual_ of laying the maiden, dressed in her best in a boat and setting it adrift - IN THE DIRECTION OF HER FUTURE HUSBAND - remained AS SOMETHING OF A WEDDING RITUAL to these people.

Well ... it came to be ... that a young Princess named Miroslava (played wonderfully by Mariya Poezzhaeva [IMDb] [KP.ru]*[KT.ru]*), her (quite common / traditional Slavic) name meaning "Lover or Proclaimer of Peace," betrothed to a dashing Prince named Igor (played by Pyotr Romanov [IMDb] [KP.ru]*[KT.ru]*) is dressed in her wedding garb, set solemnly on the boat and cast-off by her loving Regal/Noble Father (played Stanislav Lyubshin [IMDb] [KP.ru]*[KT.ru]*) in the direction of her betrothed, WHEN ... to _everyone's horror_ ... the Dragon, all but forgotten, 'cept in fairy tales and "Legends of Old...", REAPPEARS, swoops down and TAKES THE YOUNG PRINCESS MIROSLAVA AWAY ...

The rest of the story ensues ... Who was this Dragon?  Where did he take poor Miroslava?  Why didn't he appear for such a long time until now?  And what to do so that this never happens again?

The story that unfolds is just lovely.  It is based on a novel The Rite (orig. Ритуал - Ritual) [GR-Ru]*[GR-Pl]*[WCat-Ru]* by RUSSIAN LANGUAGE writing UKRAINIAN fantasy/romance writers Marina and Sergei Dyachenko [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn]).  That novel itself is unfortunately currently unavailable in English.  However, a fair number of their other works are [GR] [WCat] [Amzn].  So it'd be worth it for Readers interested in this (Teen-oriented / Fantasy) genre to look-up a book or two of theirs :-).

In any case, EXCELLENT FILM!

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