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VHS cover
Directed byGeorgiy Daneliya
Written by
CinematographyPavel Lebeshev
Edited byNatalya Dobrunova
Music byGia Kancheli
Distributed bySovexportfilm
Release date
  • 1 December 1986 (1986-12-01)
Running time
135 minutes
CountrySoviet Union

Kin-dza-dza! (Russian: Кин-дза-дза!) is a 1986 Soviet film released by the Mosfilm studio and directed by Georgiy Daneliya, with a story by Georgiy Daneliya and Revaz Gabriadze. It is a dystopian science-fiction black comedy, in which two male humans from Earth accidentally travel through space, meeting two aliens from the Kin-dza-dza star system and their post-apocalyptic world.


The story begins in 1980s Moscow. Vladimir Mashkov, aka Uncle Vova, a generic but gruff construction foreman, is relaxing at home after a stressful day at work. His wife asks him to buy some groceries, so Vova goes out to the nearest store. Standing right in the city centre on Kalinin Prospekt (now New Arbat Avenue), is a barefoot man, dressed in a tattered coat, who appeals to passersby with a strange request: "Tell me the number of your planet in the Tentura? Or at least the number of your galaxy in the spiral?".

Uncle Vova and a young Georgian student with a violin (The Violinist) stop and talk to the strange man. During a short conversation, the stranger shows them a teleportation device, which he calls a "traveler". Uncle Vova decides to test the veracity of the stranger's story, and despite the stranger's warnings, presses a random button on the device. Suddenly, Uncle Vova and the Violinist find themselves transported to the planet "Pluke" in the "Kin-dza-dza" galaxy.

The natives of the planet appear human, with deceptively primitive-looking technology and a barbaric culture, which satirically resembles that of humans. They are telepathic; the only spoken words normally used in their culture are "ku" (koo) and "kyu" (kyoo), the former stands for everything good, the latter being a swear word that stands for every bad thing. However, the Plukanians are able to quickly adapt to speaking and understanding Russian and Georgian.

The society of Pluke is divided into two categories: "Chatlanians" and "Patsaks" ("пацак" is a backward spelling of "кацап", a derogatory term for Russians, according to another opinion, from "пацан", "patsan" a guy). The difference is ascertained only by means of a small handheld device, the "visator", similar in appearance to a flash drive; when pointed at a member of the Chatlanian group, an orange light on the device comes on; when pointed at a member of the Patsak group, a green light comes on. It is also noted that the social differences between Patsaks and Chatlanians are not constant: Pluke being a Chatlanian planet, Chatlanians are privileged, and a system of rituals must be followed by the Patsaks to show flattery; however, there are Patsak planets where Patsaks hold the upper hand and where Chatlanians are subservient. The "visator" shows that Uncle Vova and the Violinist are Patsaks.

The only group allowed to use weapons ("tranklucators") and enforce their will are the "ecilopps" ("police" spelled backwards). Outside being a Patsak or Chatlanin, respect towards others is determined by the color of their pants; different shades require those of lower social standing to "ku" at them a predetermined number of times, displaying their submission. The nominal leader of the Plukanian society is Mr. P-Zh; everybody makes their best to display fervent worship to him and disrespect is severely punished; however, when encountered in person, P-Zh appears harmless and dumb. The fuel of Pluke is called "luts" and is made from water. All naturally present water has apparently been processed into luts, so drinking water is a valuable commodity (in fact, it can only be made from luts).

A good deal of the plot is based on the fact that ordinary wooden matchsticks ("ketse") are considered to be extremely valuable on Pluke. Uncle Vova and the Violinist meet two locals, Uef and Bi, who at various points either help or abandon the Earthling duo in their quest to return to Earth, which at various times involves repairing Uef and Bi's ship or raiding P-Zh's private compound.

Uncle Vova and the Violinist finally encounter the man from the film's beginning, but he disappears, making it uncertain if he took them with him. The film then jumps back to the very beginning. As Uncle Vova heads outside, however, there is no man at the city center; furthermore, when he runs into the Violinist there, they do not recognize each other. Suddenly, a passing tractor with a flashing, orange light reminds them of the "ecilopps", and they both reflexively squat and say, "ku!", as it was required on Pluke. They immediately recognize each other. Uncle Vova, looking at the sky, hears the sound of a song performed by the Uef and Bi.

Cast (in order of appearance)[edit]

Plukanian language[edit]

Since Plukanians are depicted as telepathic in the movie, they use very few spoken words to communicate. These include:

  • Ketse (pronounced «keh-tseh», emphasis on the second syllable) – substance from match heads;
  • Chatl – a currency unit;
  • Tsak – a small bell worn on the nose to indicate the low social status of the wearer;
  • Tentura and Antitentura – two opposite parts of the Universe. Some planets and galaxies exist in Tentura (including Earth, number 013 in the Tentura, seventh in Spiral) and some in Antitentura;
  • Pepelats – an interplanetary spacecraft (from the Georgian პეპელა p’ep’ela, "butterfly");
  • Tsappa – a component for different machines. A «big tsappa» is a very important component for the pepelats. A "small tsapa" is a component for the gravitsappa; without the small tsappa, a gravitsappa will not work. Described as being similar to a very rusty screwnut;
  • Gravitsappa – a component for the pepelats which allows intergalactic travel (from «gravity» + «tsappa»);
  • Tranklucator – a weapon;
  • Visator – a compact device which detects difference between Patsaks and Chatlanians;
  • Kappa – any trigger;
  • Luts – the fuel used by the pepelats, originally made of water;
  • Chatlanian – a being with a high social status (detected as «orange» on a visator);
  • Patsak – a being with a low social status (detected as «green» on a visator);
  • Ecilopp – a policeman (from the English word «police» spoken backwards);
  • Etsikh – a box for prisoners, also the imprisonment in such box (as a penalty), and also a jail with many such boxes (the word «etsikh» is from the Georgian ციხე tsikhe, «prison»). A harsher version is «etsikh with nails».
  • Kyu – a socially-acceptable profanitу;
  • Ku (pronounced «koo») – every single other word.


The movie has been released on DVD in Russia, but has gained virtually no notice elsewhere, with the exception of Japan.[citation needed] This is largely due to the fact that there was no official release of the movie with English subtitles for a long time. While the movie was in the making, a censorship threat emerged, due to the use of the word "Ku" (Koo) which sounded like the initials "K.U.", referring to the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR at the time, K.U. Chernenko. Chernenko had assumed the Party leadership in 1984, but died in 1985, which resolved the issue.[citation needed]

In 2005, RUSCICO (Russian Cinema Council) released a version with the original Russian sound and additional English and French dubbing. It also has subtitles in English and other languages.[1]

In 2013, a digitally-restored Blu-ray version was released.[2]

The film is available with English subtitles on YouTube, via Mosfilm.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Thirty years after its original release, Little White Lies magazine described Kin-dza-dza! as "Mad Max meets Monty Python by way of Tarkovsky" and said it had remained relevant to audiences.[4] Russia Beyond agreed that the film was still well-loved by Russians in 2016.[5]

On 1 December 2016, Google celebrated the 30th anniversary of Kin-Dza-Dza! with a Google Doodle.[6]

Animated remake[edit]

In 2013, Daneliya released an animated remake of the film, named Ku! Kin-dza-dza! (Ку! Кин-дза-дза).[7] The animated version was based on the plot of the original film, but was targeted more towards children and international audiences. It had a budget of 140 million rubles.[8] Ku! Kin-dza-dza! won Best Animated Feature Film in the 2013 Asia Pacific Screen Awards.[9] The animated remake is mainly a traditionally-animated (drawn-by-hand) feature film, with some computer animation.


  1. ^ DVD disk “Kin-Dza-Dza” Archived 2007-06-26 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Кин-дза-дза! – на Blu-ray Disc
  3. ^ Кин-дза-дза! on YouTube
  4. ^ Blackledge, Joel (17 July 2016). "In praise of Kin-dza-dza! – the best sci-fi film you've never heard of". Little White Lies. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  5. ^ Ustian, Gennady (24 August 2016). "'Kin-dza-dza!': The Soviet sci-fi satire that has stood the test of time". Russia Beyond. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  6. ^ "30th Anniversary of Film "Kin-Dza-Dza!"". Google. 1 December 2016.
  7. ^ Ку! Кин-дза-дза-дза – СМИ о фильме – Наше кино
  8. ^ "Кина не будет?"
  9. ^ "Winners announced at the 7th Annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards". Asia Pacific Screen Awards. 12 December 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]