Alexander Sokurov continues his brilliant investigation into the lives of dictators with the "engrossing, supremely assured" (Village Voice) THE SUN. Following up his portraits of Hitler in Moloch (1999) and Lenin in Taurus (2001), the film is a mesmerizing tour of Emperor Hirohito's final days in power during the waning moments of WWII.
Played by Issei Ogata (Yi Yi) with "an impish wit" (Variety), Hirohito wanders through his palace in a child-like state of denial. He spends his time studying marine biology and paging through a photo album of Hollywood stars. Hirohito's patient chamberlain (Shiro Sano) encourages his isolation through banal daily rituals, which include "time for private thought." But reality soon intrudes, as American soldiers overrun his manicured gardens and nightmare visions of Hiroshima invade his dreams. No longer a God among men, Hirohito is forced to kowtow to General MacArthus (Robert Dawson), who softly pushes the terms of the occupation and, even more dramatically, for the renunciation of Hirohito's divinity.
One of the best movies released in 2009 (NY Times), THE SUN is an elegantly constructed meditation on absolute power and how it dissipates the man who wields it.
*** Recommended Video Librarian
"...Staggering and brilliant." - Keith Uhlich, TIME OUT NY
"...Engrossing, supremely assured..." - J. Hoberman, Village Voice
Golden Berlin Bear Berlinale
Official Selection Toronto International Film Festival