“Хранители” – The Soviet version of The Lord of the Rings you need to watch
by Nicola Polloni
December 2022 – The Coffee Break of our December issue invites you to dive into a “different” representation of Tolkien’s universe. You have enjoyed Peter Jackson’s trilogy of The Lord of the Rings and you might have been puzzled by the later trilogy The Hobbit (as many of us did). Now that 2022 is coming to an end, you have probably survived countless discussions, controversies, debates, and fights about Amazon’s The Rings of Power. Perhaps, you think you want some rest from Tolkien and the manifold ways in which the universe he created can be represented on the screen, waiting to listen to some Kzoo panels on the topic in the spring of 2023.
Last year, however, something long forgotten resurfaced the web: a different interpretation of The Lord of the Rings that no one was expecting. In April 1991, Ленинградское телевидение broadcasted a unique TV series about Tolkien’s world. Directed by Наталья Серебрякова (Natalya Serebryakova), the two episodes composing “Хранители” (“Guardians”) represent the events told in the first book of the The Lord of the Rings saga, The Fellowship of the Ring. Unfortunately, episodes covering the final two books were not produced (why?!).
In “Хранители”, you will also find some crucial passages from the book that Jackson decided not to include in his version (but we won’t start yet another discussion of Tom Bombadil’s role in the saga!). Following the copyright owner’s (Channel 5 Russia) decision to make this movie available online for free in 2021, we invite you to watch the first part of this memorable Soviet production. We are quite sure that, if you had not heard about it, this is going to be a nice surprise for your holiday break. And at the same time, if you know already this imaginative representation, you will probably be happy to have an excuse to watch it again – and again!
Info about cast and available on the IMDb dedicated webpage.