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Film / Kin-Dza-Dza!

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A Soviet cult sci-fi dystopian post-apocalyptic satirical 1986 Georgi Danelia movie about two Soviet citizens getting stranded on another planet. They deal with telepathic human aliens, figure out how things are done there and try to get home.

This film provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Everyone calls Gedevan Fiddler, even if he says the violin isn't his and he can't even play it.
  • Animated Adaptation: After spending several years in Development Hell, it was finally released in April 2013. Reportedly, it was based on the original script without the Executive Meddling-mandated changes.
    • The plot of the adaptation is similar to the movie plot, but the characters from Earth are different: Uncle Vova is a musician, not a foreman, and his tagalong is his nephew Tolik, a wannabe DJ. Oh, and they are from the 21st century. Also, Abradox is not a sufficiently advanced alien but an annoying robot sidekick.
  • Batman Gambit: Gidevan and the aliens play a game of chess, and Gidevan loses, because the aliens can read his thoughts. He starts deliberately thinking bad moves for them and wins.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Pepelats" (those flying ... things) means "butterfly" in Georgian (the director's and script-writers' native tongue), only with a "ts" tacked on the end for flavor.
    • Etzikh (jail coffins) is derived from "tzikhe" - "jail" in Georgian.
    • Ketse (matches) are named after traditional Georgian clay frying pans.
      • This caused a significant problem for Danelia, because the censors for some reasons believed that it was a sneak attack at "ЦК" (Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party, commonly pronounced as "TSE-kah" in Russian).
  • Black Comedy
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality
    • Amusingly, it goes both ways. Just as the mindset of Pluckans is completely alien to the Earthlings, so the Pluckans cannot comprehend how a coherent society can survive without a system of colorful pants to indicate how many times people should squat before each other.
      "If society doesn't have color differentiation of pants, it has no purpose!" - B
    • Alpha is in the same boat.
  • Butt-Monkey: Fiddler.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In addition to the caste system there is a secondary hierarchy on Pluck based on the color of your pants. Pants color is used to tell the rich from the poor; belonging to the wrong caste doesn't matter much anymore if you are rich.
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  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Aside from fines, you can also be sentenced to an etsikh, being shut in a small metal vagon which can also be laid with nails for extra punishment.
  • Crapsack World: Pluck and the entire galaxy of Kin-Dza-Dza. They make a contrast with Crystal Spires and Togas below.
  • Creator Cameo: The director (Georgiy Daneliya) stars as Abradox on Alpha (the German actor originally cast in the role was unable to show up for filming).
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The Alpha people do the toga bit.
  • Dark Reprise: When Fiddler attempts suicide, he says "Fiddler isn't needed", the very phrase he was being told during the whole movie.
  • Despair Event Horizon: When Uncle Vova and Fiddler realize that they will never get back to Earth, they are so struck by it, they almost kill themselves, until they are saved at the last moment .
  • Dystopia: It's funny! And half of it became true. It's still funny.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: PJ's mother.
  • Evil Overlord: PJ comes of as a blend of as a blend of this and an Upper-Class Twit.
  • Executive Meddling: In the original script Fiddler had a bottle of chacha (Georgian moonshine) with him. During filming, Prohibition campaign struck, and the bottle content was changed to vinegar. Which made the scene with an etsilop nonchalantly sipping from it all the more hilarious.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Apart from the Patsak/Chatlanian division (below) there is a caste system that regulates how many times one should squat before an owner of pants of various special colors and if you have pants of a color lower than magenta you can be randomly beaten up by local police at night.
  • Fantastic Racism: A small device called a "visator" determines if you are "Patsak" or "Chatlanian", and thus determines whether you will be oppressed or privileged. The difference between "Patsak" and "Chatlanian" is not racial, it's not genetic, it's not biological and it isn't ethnic. The only way to tell is to just use the device. Moreover, the planets in the galaxy are divided into chatlanean and patzkaen as well. Thus the same person will be a master on "his" planet and a slave on the "wrong" one. Both Chatlanians and Patzaks seem to be fine with that.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Alphians. They are eager to help the protagonists return home and are polite and composed even when faced with their rudeness. But they make no bones about the trespassers from KDD, which given what the residents of KDD do to each other (and, in the script, what they tried to do to Alpha thrice), i.e. exterminate whole planets just because fuck them, is quite understandable. Even then Alphians are humane (well, from their point of view at least) enough to not just shoot the invaders on approach but turn them into cacti.
  • Human Aliens: All aliens look exactly like humans. Which is why Vova doesn't believe that they're not on Earth and thinks they're in one of those "dreaded capitalist countries" at first.
  • Idiot Ball: Vladimir Nikolaevich gives away all his matches (a huge fortune, as he's already aware) to a smuggler for a bottle of water and some plastic snacks, when, for all he knew, in a short while he'd be able to return home. Also, Gidevan, in the example stated below, attempts to steal a very heavy coffin with an Human Alien inside, when the local police is about to fall upon them, and when he already has a fully functional ray gun.
  • Indecisive Parody: In a very interesting and strange way, this film is satire of both Soviet AND capitalist states. The creators are not quite sure themselves.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: An etsilop performed Diagonal Cut on a faraway water... er, sand tower just to make a point.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Wef and B, though they start out as absolute jerkasses.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The Fiddler collects any "unknown alien metals" and technology he can get by barter or plain theft. One time, unknowingly, he steals Gravitsappa. For Science! Turned Up to Eleven when he tries to kidnap an alien prisoner with the coffin he's in.
  • MacGuffin: The "gravitsappa".
  • Low Culture, High Tech: Definitely applies to the denizens of Pluckan. Next to fantastic (allthough a bit rusty) machines, weapons and devices capable of great power, you have a crude and barbaric society based on a rigid caste system enforced by a brutal police force.
  • Mary Sue Topia: Alpha is a sterile place with very polite and very technologically-advanced people and nice gardens.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Uncle Vova at first, although he eventually learns better.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: At least two of the planets of the Kin-Dza-Dza galaxy, and there's no reason to believe the others are any better. Not because of a desire to kill, but rather because of a lack of the concept "Why not to do [something]" in their mindsets.
    Gidevan: "Why did they [Pluckans] do it [destroyed the home planet of Bi and Uef]?"
    Uef: "So that we don't do it to them first."
    Gidevan: "And why would you do that?"
    Uef: "So that they don't hang over our heads."
  • Only Electric Sheep Are Cheap: Pluck's inhabitants destroyed the ecology on their own world and converted every single drop of natural water on the planet to lutz (fuel). Matchsticks (made of natural wood and sulfur) are incredibly valuable on Pluck.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Fiddler isn't needed!", by Fiddler, obviously.
  • Police State: Law enforcement units called etsilopp are corrupt and can come to you at night to beat you up. Unless you are a proud owner of magenta pants (or higher).
  • Ray Gun: There are ray guns called trancklucators. While you can't see the beam, they're just as deadly. Apparently, they come so different in size and look, that a random pipe could be passed off as one. There are even some capable of trancklucating a planet.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Fiddler tries to give one to the Pluckians and fails.
    • And later, compacted into a single phrase, to Alphians.
  • Scenery Gorn: The entire movie; the image of (full scale) Ferris wheel half buried in the sands is probably the most impressive.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: if you are rich enough to afford magenta pants, it doesn't matter much anymore if you are Patsak or Chatlanian. Both will defer to you. You're also not a valid target for police brutality once you get them.
  • Screw You, Elves!: The protagonists call the supposedly "enlightened" Alphians on their crap, pointing out that they don't actually ask the people they feel superior to for their opinions and dismiss them as worthless out of hand.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Phonetically, Etsilop is reversed Polizei.
    • "Patsak" is phonetically reversed "Katsap", a derisive nickname of Russians by Ukrainians.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Gidevan's The Sensitive Guy to Vladimir's Manly Man: Fiddler is a humble, but very emotional, while Uncle Vova is pragmatic and not prone to panic.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Apparently the whole surface of Pluck is one huge desert wrought about by pluckans converting all the planet's water into lutz (fuel).
  • Stylistic Suck: The movie's score was done in this fashion on Danelia's request.
  • Those Two Guys: Wef and B.
  • Time Travel
  • Transflormation: Forced onto Kin-Dza-Dza denizens who end up on Alpha. That includes Wef and B, though it's undone via Time Travel.
  • Translation Convention: The inhabitants of the Kin-Dza-Dza galaxy are telepathic and usually have very little need to talk (which explains why there are only dozens of words in their vocabulary). Vova and Fiddler are not telepathic, but aliens scan their minds and learn Russian (or Georgian) and talk with them.
  • Trapped in Another World
  • Used Future: while the film takes place in "present" times, the technology used by the aliens is highly advanced and everything is appropriately rusty:
    Uncle Vova: "Hey astronauts, which one is tsappa here?"
    B: "The rusty one, darling."
    Uncle Vova: "Everything is rusty here."
    B: "And tsappa is the rustiest."
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Matches are the most valuable currency on Pluck. When Uncle Vova forgets that and uses them to smoke, Wef and B get incredibly distressed. Pants of different colors are also in high demand, because they determine your social status.
    • Also subverted with actual money. After Gedevan mentions how many matches he can buy on his 50 rubles, Wef tells him to leave the money as he goes to the catapult.


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