Dni zatmeniya (Days of Eclipse). 1988. USSR. Directed by Aleksandr Sokurov. Screenplay by Yuriy Arabov, Pyotr Kadochnikov, Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky. With Aleksei Ananishnov, Eskender Umarov, Irina Sokolova. 35mm print courtesy of BAMPFA. In Russian, Armenian, Turkmen, and other languages; English subtitles. 139 min.
One of Aleksandr Sokurov’s most eerily metaphysical films, Days of Eclipse is a palimpsest of the 1974 sci-fi novel Definitely Maybe by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, the authors of Stalker and Hard to Be a God. When a doctor tests his theories of religious faith and medicine on the poor, sick children of a village in Soviet Turkmenistan, strange forces seemingly emanating from the godforsaken landscape cause him to become paralyzed with inertia and fear.