Georgiy Daneliya, 1986
USSR | Format: 35mm | 135 minutes
A Russian cult classic, this perestroika-era satire follows the misadventures of two Russians who are accidentally teleported from the streets of Moscow to the desert planet Pluke. The odd couple—a construction foreman (Stanislav Lyubshin) and a scruffy fiddler (Levan Gabriadze)—encounter a junk-heap civilization that hosts bizarre kowtowing customs, a nonsensical language, and a matchstick-based currency. Their negotiation of these rules and the planet’s tin-can airships becomes an exercise in absurdity, throwing an ironic spotlight on any other notion of total social order. Director Georgiy Daneliya recently remade the film as an animated feature.
“[A] hilarious dystopian comedy, which . . . also qualifies as a masterpiece in terms of writing and general execution, begging to be judged alongside such pictures as Gilliam’s Brazil and Luc Besson’s Dernier Combat. Heavily influenced by the satire of the late Robert Sheckley, Kin-dza-dza! tells the story of two schlemiels . . . who are confronted by an alien while, respectively, going to buy pasta and returning a violin.”—Lucius Shepard, Fantasy & Science Fiction