I Am Dragon (2015)
April 9, 2021 5:04 AM - Subscribe

In the midst of the wedding princess Miroslava is kidnapped by a dragon and carried away into his castle on the remote island.

If dragons are your thing, hold up, um, maybe make that if dragons are your thing, if you get my drift...

You don't? Okay, you know how Daenerys loved her dragon in Game of Thrones? It's kinda like that, but she really loves her dragon, like if he was who is also Jon Snow...

Hmm, still not working, okay, did you see The Blue Lagoon, you know, the Brooke Shields movie, I am Dragon is a lot like that, I mean it would be anyway if Christopher Atkins character also was a threat to incinerate Brooke's at any moment...

I guess that's a pretty old point of reference, so maybe someone's Letterboxd comment, "How to Train Your Dragon but kinky" would work better nowadays.

I Am Dragon is essentially a scalier version of Beauty and the Beast, but with a Russian folkloric ambience to it, based on the fantasy book The Ritual by Maryna and Serhiy Dyachenko. The charms of the film are in its detail, both visual and written, as much as its central conceit. It has a lovely feel to its world and doesn't allow the characters to lapse into easy cliche, even as it does deal with familiar themes of true love and its power. The movie manages to still feel fresh for how interesting the main character Mira is compared to all too many princesses and maidens in like stories, and in how it avoids a number of typical plot and character choices that are so often lazily applied just because they're expected. Oh, and its more sexy by suggestion than more lurid imagery, but there is some slight male nudity and flimsy apparel involved.

It's free on the russianfilmhub and youtube. A link to the former here.
posted by gusottertrout (3 comments total)
I came across this movie in a video rental store a couple of years ago and picked it up solely because the title and blurb were absolutely hilarious. "Who is he, and what's he doing on the the Island, is he also the Dragon's prisoner?" HM. I WONDER.

I thought it would be so-bad-it's-good and a laugh. Boy. Was I wrong. What a fantastic movie. Gorgeous cinematography, compelling characters, kept its tension even though the audience obviously knows what's going on. I loved it. Need to rewatch soon, thanks for the reminder!
posted by brook horse at 2:18 PM on April 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh, I'm so glad someone else has seen it. It's a movie I think a lot of people on Metafilter would really enjoy, judging from a Metatalk previous post on dragons and just the general takes on a lot of movies and fiction I've read here. Your experience is pretty much the same as mine was and seems to be the common one among most of the people who posted reviews of it on Letterboxd, IMDb, and other sites. It looks silly and expect it'll be treated only half seriously, but then it dives into its story and follows its internal logic without slipping into irony.

That, I think, is its biggest strength, that it builds its drama by sticking to its internal concepts rather than looking at its story as part of a genre that the audience knows and thus needs to be "played with" to keep us on our toes, or worse, needs to follow a formula for "action" or whatnot to give us what we allegedly want. You can tell, for example, that a woman was strongly involved in making the movie since the film manages to stick to being completely Mira's tale, based around her desires and fears without ever making her character's interests secondary to Arman's or Igor's, as the controlling metaphor around love and desire is hers.

One of the little details that really impressed me in this regard is how the first scene introduces a motif of the wind (flowers and paper as well) that isn't given explanation until after midway through the movie, by which time the opening scene may have already dimmed, but then returns to the opening use of the motif at the end of the movie to give the whole of the film a sense of unity, where the meaning of the beginning is now more clear by being answered by the later conversations and return of the motif at the end.

It doesn't coddle the audience by overexplanation but allows for a flow that builds to its emotional climax without needing increased "action" to gain that response. I also appreciate the way it managed to avoid the most consistently irksome aspect of Beauty and the Beast tales in its ending, which I don't want to spoil in case someone else reads this who hasn't seen the film.
posted by gusottertrout at 4:22 PM on April 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

It's also on Amazon Prime video, we watched it tonight and really enjoyed it!
posted by jazon at 9:09 PM on April 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

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