Events unfold in a surreal “free city”. For hundreds of years, the Dragon has been ruling here – a beast lizard in human form: a military overcoat, an awkward helmet, a disfigured face. The three heads of the bloodthirsty reptile symbolize the controlling forces of the totalitarian militarized state – the army / secret police / bureaucracy. The townspeople are accustomed to the atrocities of the tyrant: they endure injustice and humiliation, every year they give him the most beautiful virgin as his wife. The people are happy with everything, this is proved by the story of the scientist Friedrichsen and his family.
But then a hero appears – the wandering “knight without fear and reproach” Lancelot. He is ready to fight the dictator and openly challenges him to a duel. However, no one is happy about this. Everyone hates the dragon, and at the same time they are ready to work for the system – voluntarily, sincerely. The “best people of the city”, led by the burgomaster, persuade the hero not to break the usual way, demand to leave the country. Lancelot does not understand that it is not worth going to death for the sake of the freedom of people who do not need it.
But he is adamant in his decision, and eventually defeats the Dragon. Lancelot retires, leaving the people freed from the dictatorship “to be free”. However, in the film, instead of an optimistic ending, there is a picture of complete hopelessness. Nothing changes. Chaos reigns in the city: pogroms, robberies, robbery. Taking advantage of the confusion, the burgomaster, the former “right hand” of the Dragon, becomes the new ruler.
The conclusions are clear:
If you overthrow one dictator, another will come to replace him, with new heads, in a different guise. What is the use of fighting for the freedom of those who are not able to properly dispose of it. The dragon is not in the outside world, but in the minds of people.
To kill a dragon does not mean to destroy it, but to deal with the dragons within oneself.
The movie has a different meaning
The play by E. Schwartz was written in 1944. The film adaptation was made by director M. Zakharov in 1988. The film is close to the dramatic fundamentals both in concept and in the development of the plot. But in general, the fairy tale-parable about the hero and the tyrant turned into a satirical pamphlet and acquired a different meaning.
The deep political and social dramas of Russian society in the 1930-1980s are enclosed in a phantasmagoric shell of the narrative. Everywhere – hidden allegories:
The three-headed reptile is a triumvirate of the Second World War: Germany, Italy, Japan. The smoking pipe presented as a gift to the many-sided tyrant is a hint at Stalin’s personality cult. An analogy with the Brezhnev times is in the distribution of awards in the form of rattling orders. The gloomy and ominous situation in the city is the threshold of perestroika and the “dashing” 1990s.
In the film “Kill the Dragon” there is a deep subtext, the development of the themes of dictatorship, slave psychology, duplicity of civic position.
The ending has been changed in the film adaptation.
The plot is based on an ancient oriental legend. It says that only a young man with a brave heart and pure thoughts can free the inhabitants of the village, which is terrorized by the dragon. But whoever kills him becomes a dragon himself.
Development of the theme of turning a winner into a tyrant:
According to the script of the play, Lancelot, realizing that the freedom granted to the inhabitants of the city is of no use to them, turns to his like-minded people for help. He explains to them that painstaking and subtle (“worse than embroidery”) work is to be done together in order to teach everyone to defeat the dragon in their head. In the film, Lancelot is different. A year later, he returns to the city plunged into darkness and repression in order to defeat the dragon in each of its inhabitants. The hero is so obsessed with the idea of destroying the dragon in people that he even forgot how to smile. But hasn’t the Dragon already settled in him? After all, he despises and scolds the townspeople for their inability to think and decide, he wants to force them to be free by force.
The screenwriter and director of the film radically change the ending of the story written by the playwright.
Lancelot comes to understand that his fiery appeals to the people are in vain. The current generation cannot be re-educated in the spirit of freedom; one can only nurture a new one. His eyes turn to the children who fly a kite on the coast. But what does he see? Next to them is a sinister and hypocritical dark figure. This is the Dragon. The villain on the screen tells the viewer that the end is not yet – “the most interesting is just beginning.”
The meaning of the picture is:
It is easier to single-handedly defeat a beast lizard with three heads than to expel it from human hearts. Freedom from dictate does not make sense if the dragon has settled in the minds of people.
In fact, the authors, with the help of the grotesque and eccentrics, interpret two philosophical maxims: “freedom is a conscious necessity” and “one cannot make a person happy against his will.”
For the modern viewer, the relevance of the film “Kill the Dragon” is also in the fact that it suggests reflections on the future of any socio-political system. What will happen to children if you bring them up with “draconian” methods? How to nurture the younger generation so that later you don’t have to kill dragons that warmed up in open children’s souls?
In one of the episodes, we see children playing with tiny dragons.