Post-Op, week four

Viy, a lord of the underworld, is summoned in Konstantin Ershov and Georgiy Kropachyov's Viy (1967)

Another eclectic week – Italian gore from Joe D’Amato, regional American exploitation, a pair of Amicus horrors from director Roy Ward Baker, a documentary about Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis, and a glorious restoration of the Russian folk-horror Viy.

Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace (1966-67):
Criterion Blu-ray review

Napoleon surveys the field of battle in Sergei Bondarchuk's War and Peace (1966-67)

Criterion’s two-disk Blu-ray release of Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace showcases a restoration of what may well be the most expensive film ever made. Truly epic in scale, this adaptation of Tolstoy’s revered novel balances awe-inspiring spectacle with emotionally charged character drama. The 7+ hour feature is supplemented with three hours of informative new and archival extras.

Aleksei German’s Hard to Be a God (2013)

Don Rumata (Leonid Yarmolnik) driven mad by his enforced role of detached observer in Aleksei German's science fiction epic Hard to Be a God (2013)

Hard to Be a God (2013), the final film of Russian director Aleksei German, more than a decade in the making, is a dense, obscure, visually stunning adaptation of a novel by the Strugatsky brothers. While German’s storytelling is extremely oblique, this depiction of a brutal medieval world which eventually corrupts Earth scientists who have traveled there to study a Renaissance which failed to happen, is realized with such visceral power that the viewer becomes immersed in the filth, madness and horror, occasionally gleaning brief moments of transcendent beauty.