Kin Dza Dza

Kin-dza-dza is a 1986 Soviet sci-fi dystopian tragicomedy cult film released by the Mosfilm studio and directed by Georgiy Daneliya. The movie has been released on DVD in Russia but has gained virtually no notice elsewhere, with the exception of Japan.

By Balthazar Malevolent

Kin Dza Dza

The Soviet cinema left many good films that always evoke feelings of nostalgia and light sadness of the post-Soviet space. One of the most popular genres has always been melodrama, which traditionally tells the story of life's vicissitudes of 'ordinary Soviet people'. The films successfully evoke sympathy and empathy for the characters. Daneliya's brilliant film is strictly out of this idyllic picture, firstly, by its genre.

Kin-Dza-Dza presents a separate universe, which surpasses even 'Solaris' and 'Stalker' in terms of emptiness. It is a feeling of solitude that reigns on the desolate planet of Pluk, on which there is nothing but an ocean of sand (as they made fuel out of water), old rusty iron machines and a small population that nevertheless retains racial discrimination in its society, as groundless and foolish as it is in the 21st-century's society.

The characters of Kin-Dza-Dza mirror various stereotypes: confident in his ignorance and naivety Uncle Vova is very much like Chatlanin Uef, who seriously believes in his superiority over Patsak Bi and always reminds him of his 'special status'. Bi and Fiddler represent a social minority who often face ridiculous discrimination, even though Vladimir Nikolaevich also happens to be a Patsak, he at first just takes everything that happens as a joke, refusing to wear a bell. The theme of social and economic status is particularly poignant in the film, everything works pretty much as it does in modern English-speaking society. The symbols, as we know, have always played a very important role for people, from the colour of a toga in ancient Rome to the distinction of a king or emperor in the Middle Ages.

In general, the theme of power and its immortality is quite timeless: there is no limit to the absurdity of greed to rule and control. The inhabitants' ability to read each other's minds (which is why most never think the truth), the constant punitive raids and, of course, the elusive PJ 'living on another distant planet' sound so familiar.

Kin-Dza-Dza is a film that doesn't need tons of CG to show fear and doesn't need elaborate 'Mad Max-style' costumes to show foreignness. And if the film has become part of the cultural code of the post-Soviet era, it is indeed a film to watch.

Kin Dza Dza, 1986, USSR
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