Alexander Sokurov’s The Sun

Went to the cinema the other day, to check out the new film by Alexander Sokurov, “The Sun” about the last few days of World War II in Tokyo and Emperor Hirohito meeting McArthur and surrendering. To say this film was slow, would be putting a brave face on it, (first 20 minutes is Hirohito getting up and dressed), however stick with it and a fascinating and interesting human study of Hirohito comes into play.

Unfortunately 2 people sitting just behind us didn’t stick with it, walking out after about 20 minutes (possibly during the long breakfast eating scene), with the not so favourable review “That was f*cking shit”, just heard as the cinema doors closed.

At around 2 hours long, for some (my girlfriend included, and perhaps the lady sleeping next to her), this is 2 hours too long, 2 hours that probably felt like 4. I on the other hand loved it. Having often wondered how people actually surrender during wars, and what did these 2 powerful people actually say to each other (not a great deal if this movie is to be believed, Sokurov loves his long silences).

Most of the film is set in Emperor Hirohito’s bunker, occasionaly interspersed with dreamlike war scenes of the Tokyo bombing (in fact I think it was a dream, the planes being insect like flying creatures – due to Hirohito’s obsession with natural sciences), which gave an interesting break from the slow, static bunker rooms.

To be honest I was actually disappointed when the film ended, and would have liked more time to follow this
interesting character.

Recommended but be warned, not for everyone.


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