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Film / On Drakon

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"I'll teach you to be human."

Он – дракон (transliterated as On Drakon, translated in English I Am Dragon or He's A Dragon) is a 2015 Russian Romantic Fantasy film starring Maria Poezzhaeva and Matvey Lykov.

For hundreds of years, the people of a certain kingdom sacrificed their daughters in a ritual to appease a ferocious dragon. One day, a knight whose beloved was taken traveled to the island of the dragons and avenged his beloved's death by killing the dragon himself. Now, two generations later, the grandson of the dragon-slayer, Igor, is pledged to be married to the duke's youngest daughter, Miroslava - the ritual to appease the dragon has been transformed into a marriage rite. But when they sing the dragon song, the dragon they thought long dead kidnaps her and takes her to his magical island in the middle of the sea... and is revealed to not only be a deadly monster, but a man who hates and fears the dragon within him.


This film provides examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: The film's setting is seemingly Kievan Rus (with its intermixture of Slavic and Norse material culture), but also uses elements of 18th-and-19th century Russian culture and features Asian shadow puppetry as a prominent element. Of course, the film never claims to be in any historical setting.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Miroslava to her older sister, Yaroslava. She weaponizes this against Arman to make him talk to her.
  • Art Shift: Certain important scenes, such as the prologue, are done with shadow puppets interspersed with flashbacks. This turns out to be a Framing Device, as Arman is telling his and Mira's little girl their story with the shadow puppets.
  • Babies Ever After: The last scene shows Arman and Mira with a daughter.
  • Badass Bystander: The helmsman (implied to be Igor's best man), who not only attempts a mutiny when Igor decides to give up the search for Mira early, but punches Igor in the face to prevent him from killing the dragon.
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  • Beast and Beauty: Arman as the Beast and Mira as the Beauty, though Arman is a conventionally-attractive man when not a dragon.
  • Blessed with Suck: Arman strongly sees his ability as this, since he can't control the transformations, has no control over what he does when transformed, and the way dragons reproduce in this film is not pretty.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: Shown in one large flashback, but includes Arman teaching Mira to "see the wind."
  • Costume Porn: Everything Mira wears is gorgeous, especially the dresses she finds in chests while on the island of dragons. The costumes worn by her family back home are not bad either.
  • Creative Closing Credits: They're done in the style of shadow puppets.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Mira, who never stops trying to find a way home and considers letting her captor drown before deciding she needs him.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Igor, though unlike most disposable fiancés, Mira has never met him and never loved him.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The involuntary nature of the dragon transformation, plus the circumstances surrounding it (mere touching can "set it off," and it's necessary to reproduce, as the virgin must burn alive), seems like some kind of metaphor for sexuality. And then Mira tames the dragon through love, and is able to control the dragon by riding it...
  • Driven to Suicide: Arman, who is terrified of what might happen if he can't control the dragon and decides he's better off dead. Mira sings the dragon-calling song and forces him to transform, stopping him from dying.
  • Enemy Within: Arman considers "the dragon" a separate being from himself, one that he is terrified of and which he can barely control.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Arman's dragon transformation is foreshadowed by a stream of little sparks. His arrival as the dragon during both weddings is foreshadowed by a similar stream of snowflakes.
  • From Dress to Dressing: Mira rips the sleeve off of her wedding dress to bandage Arman after he's injured by his transformation.
  • Genetic Memory: Dragons have this; it's why Arman knows the history of the dragons despite growing up mostly on his own.
  • I Choose to Stay: Eventually, Mira chooses to live with Arman on the island rather than marry Igor.
  • Important Haircut: Mira starts the film with a braid that goes to her ankles - she roughly cuts it to chin length with a rock in order to use it as a rope. Her shorter hair symbolizes the relative freedom she has with Arman.
  • Island of Mystery: The island of dragons, which is home to many magical creatures and protected by an impenetrable magical fog that prevents anyone from entering. However, the love of a woman can guide a searcher through the fog.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The dragon-summoning song. What used to be an ironic song about how the girl is to be sacrificed to her "bridegroom," the dragon, is now used by Mira's time completely un-ironically as a wedding song.
  • Meaningful Rename: The dragon has no name prior to meeting Mira; she names him "Arman," which she says means "dream."
  • Medieval European Fantasy: The film is set in a fantasy world that is primarily based on Russian history, in particular Kievan Rus.
  • Monster-Shaped Mountain: Arman's island is actually the skeleton of one of his ancestors - a truly colossal dragon.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Arman, when not transformed, is handsome, well built, and perpetually shirtless.
  • Murder by Inaction: Mira strongly considers this, when she realizes that Arman is the dragon and that she could simply leave him to drown. She almost walks away from him before changing her mind.
  • Nature Hero: Arman, who grew up completely isolated from humans and has no concept of human conventions like handshakes or modesty, but can speak as humans do.
  • No Infantile Amnesia: Arman remembers the day he was born, though he dearly wishes he couldn't.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: The aye-aye that lives on the island with Arman. It's made quite clear that it's been his only company since his father died.
  • Old Maid: Mira's sister Yara, who is unmarried despite being in her twenties.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Mira's plan to run away is explained by repeating scenes of her and Arman together as she gains the knowledge necessary to do so: the chests of clothes for traveling, the fireworks as a signal flare, and the ability to see the wind to be able to sail.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: These ones appear human, but transform into dragons when the occasion arises. They also have shared memories of all past dragons and reproduce by burning virgins alive until a child emerges from the ashes.
  • Scenery Porn: The dragon island, which is an island literally made of a giant dragon's bones and surrounded by a gorgeous sea.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The aye-aye. Mira has no idea what it is, as she mistakes it for some kind of demon at first.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: The initial ritual was this; by Mira's time it's just a marriage rite.
  • Visual Pun: Arman leaves an odd-looking tropical fruit for Mira at one point. It's never named but it is, of course, a dragon fruit.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Arman; the closest he ever gets is a long open-fronted robe.
  • Wedding Deadline: Mira's wedding to Igor is stopped before it can be completed due to the arrival of the dragon at the beginning of the film. And again at the end of the film, when Mira stops it herself.