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The Sun(Солнце)

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Russia, Italy, Switzerland · 2005
1h 50m
Director Aleksandr Sokurov
Starring Issei Ogata, Robert Dawson, Kaori Momoi, Shirô Sano
Genre Drama, History

The third part in Aleksandr Sokurov's quadrilogy on 20th-century dictators—following “Moloch,” about Hitler, and “Taurus,” about Lenin—focuses on Japanese Emperor Hirohito. Confronted by General Douglas MacArthur in the final months of World War II, Hirohito must negotiate the terms of the country’s surrender in this weighty portrait of “the sun god” stripped of his power.

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What are critics saying?


Film Threat by

Reflecting on Sokurov’s other recent work – like “Russian Arc” for example – The Sun is a giant step down. It’s an outrageously long-winded drama that’s awfully directed with the skill of a high school play.


Chicago Reader by Fred Camper

This 2005 masterpiece by Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov transforms the story of Emperor Hirohito at the close of World War II into a melancholy meditation on power and its loss.


Village Voice by J. Hoberman

Though he successfully humanizes Hirohito, who is shown happily shedding his divinity, Sokurov doesn't entirely exonerate him. He contrives a shock ending that, as measured as everything else in this engrossing, supremely assured movie, acknowledges one last blood sacrifice on the emperor's altar.


Time Out by Keith Uhlich

Sokurov, who also acted as director of photography, films the character and his surroundings with the eye of a newly arrived visitor to another world.


The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

The movie is best understood not in banal docudrama terms but as an impressionistic portrait of a man who, stripped of power, is revealed as grotesquely human.


The Hollywood Reporter by Richard James Havis

This precision-controlled film once again highlights Alexander Sokurov's mastery of the medium. The third entry in his Men in Power series employs refined performances, a controlled script, excellent sound and fluid camerawork.


New York Post by V.A. Musetto

Fives us behind-the-scene looks at Hirohito, the man and the ruler. The diminutive leader comes off sympathetically, as a man concerned with the welfare of his people.