Evgenia Kalyabina

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Он Дракон (He is a Dragon) (2015) Russia

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Well, I never write about russian films because there is not much to write about the new ones really. I tend not to like them either visually or in terms of the story or even both. For some reason I feel like writing about this one. I’ve just watched it yesterday and I still have some issues with it as casting, dialogues or even those really pretentious posters but I really liked the sets, cinematography and the CGI in it (well, not all of it).

I think I will just add some frames of the scenes I liked the most however I did like the way they we shown – the camera angles and the motion were surprisingly good!

I think I should describe what’s happening in the film first. It is a fantasy film the action of which it taking place in something like 10th century Russia. This is a small kingdom where people have to give away their beautiful women to the dragon. Noone knows what the dragon does with them but they are never seen again. One of the victums of the dragon was loved by a brave man who promised never to stop looking for the dragon untill he avenge his beloved. When the worrier finally got to the island it was too late and his fiancee was gone. The worrier slayed the dragon and returned to his village. Years passed and the ritual turned into a wedding ceremony. The king’s youngest daughter was about to marry the grandson of the dragonslayer. At her wedding the dragon song was sung and the dragon came. Miroslava (Mira) is in dragon hands now and she despiratly trying to excape when she meets Arman who turnes out to be the dragon. Being a dragon is like a curse to him and he was avoiding tunring untill they sang the sacret song. Every time Mira touches him the dragon wakes up. Mira’s not giving up hope and tries to teach Arman how to be human. He tells her that the dragon worrier would only be able to find the island if she truly loves him. But the marrage was arranged and Mira does not love Igor who’s lost at the see trying to get to the island. Mira falls in love with Arman but she is scared of the dragon and she starts packing up just in case. Arman finds out the boat she has hidden and in pain loses control of a dragon. Mira tries to help but he sends her away in fear that he’s going to hurt her. Mira sailes away in thr see where Igor and his crew find her. This time she is ready to become his bride. The ritual is repeated when Mira realises she cannot marry the man she does not love. She refuses Igor and sings the dragon song for Arman to come litarally saving him from death as he has decied to commit suiside because he couldn’t live without Mira and be a monster anymore. The dragon comes and takes his bride. This time noone follows them. The dragon takes Mira to the cave and when he is just about to burn her alive she kisses him and says that she loves him. Her love gives Arman control over the dragon. Years pass and it is revealed that Mira and Arman have a daughter and lived happily ever after since.

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Two different world are opposed here – the human world: winter, white, black and red. The representation of it is seen in the ritual scenes and the scenes of the wedding. I really like the dulled colour sceme with cold greys and the red berries standing out on the snow.

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The other world is almost tropical world of the dragon – the island made out of dead dragon itself with intence pouring rains, tropical fruits, beaches and flowers.

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Here there is a contrast between the blue of the sky, the white/yellow of the sun light and the rich red/purple fabrics that the charactes find on the ship.

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This set and the scenes in general remind me of King Kong (2005) and Jurassic Park (1991). It is allabout magic of unreal world of the dragon (King Kong’s island, Jurassic Park – the scene on the tree), it is the romantic part of the fantasy, the dream.

And this is actually mu favourite set from the entire movie – Mira’s bedroom inside of the dragon’s head. The place which transformes from scene to set by usage of dressing and light. And this place is absolutely magical. I really like the textures and the holes in the walls. Well, the place itself is sort of the scull of a giant reptile so this is suppose to be some bones inside the scull of the creature. The function those wall do really well is providing light. It is like being a wall and a window at the same time. And I really like how the light goes from everywhere at the same time and how I’m not asking myself what I would see through the wholes. It is so high up that I would only see the light. Magic! I have no idea of where it was filmed and I’m guessing it was made in the studio with a magical green screen and lot and lots of light. Cinematography here is absolutelly great because I know that immitating the day light is one of the hardest jobs to do in the studio.

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Just some more examples of exelent cinematography here…

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And one of the most beautiful things in the movie, of course – the  costumes. Especially the wedding one. Detaild and embroydery. The thing is that it is all white and it looks like something from a classical Russian fairytale to be honest. The beausty of it is in layers and textures, or course. And it feels completely authentic to me.

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2 Comments

  1. Good review of a gorgeous movie. Hope it gets subtitles since I don’t speak Russian, but still loved it.

  2. But, you haven’t said anything about the ‘I still have some issues with it as casting, dialogues or even those really pretentious posters’? x]

    Alas, thank you for the review!
    I haven’t like a fantasy film for quite a while, and by chance found this and absolutely adore its cinematography. Reminds me how I like The Wishing Tree (Natvris Khe).

    I’ve been rewatching and rewatching to find minor details. I like how.. subtly, intentional or not, they put contrast on Mira’s plot development where we see her being a crybaby, shrieking just by the slight tug of her hair braid–boy is she in for far greater pains in then near future events.

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