Hard to Be a God ★★★★

With more farts than Blazing Saddles and enough vomit to rival Bad Taste, Aleksej German's final film is so vivid that you'd think it had revived smell-o-vision.

Like František Vláčil's Marketa Lazarová, this medievil epic - set on the planet Arkanar, which in its 13th Century is experiencing its Renaissance - is influenced little by plot, and instead cocoons the viewer into its primitive speck of the macrocosm. The idea is time travel - not so much evoking a period as regressing into it.

Like Marketa Lazarová, Hard To Be A God will need several more viewings to decide if it makes any sense, but just one is enough to know that we are in the presence of a bold, singular work from a late master of world cinema.

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