Solntse (The Sun)
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The events surrounding Japanese emperor Hirohito's August 1945 call for a complete cease fire among his troops serves as the subject of Alexander Sokurov's thought-provoking historical drama. In the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Emperor Hirohito (Issey Ogata) announces to the world that Japan will surrender unconditionally. His declaration was broadcast over the radio on August 15, 1945, and stunned the Japanese people. In this film, Sokurov details not only the events surrounding the emperor's declaration of surrender, but his renunciation of divine status as well.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Working from Yuri Arabov and Jeremy Noble's script, Sokurov has a wonderful time not simply with Hirohito and history, but with his filmmaking, which can be oblique to the point of being stultifying. Here he plays with scale."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"First shown at the Berlin Film Festival four years ago, The Sun is finally receiving its welcome American theatrical release, which means that one of the best movies of 2005 is now also one of the best of 2009."
‑ Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"... not a conventional biographical portrait by any definition, but rather a reflection in the inner life of the Emperor, a man who was considered a god by his people and treated as such."
‑ Sean Axmaker,
"It's been called maddeningly meditative and a vision of life shrouded in dust and cobwebs"
‑ Janos Gereben, Entertainment Insiders
"...a fine historical biography of man, little known to most of the world, but one who held the Pacific Rim and China in his hands (and almost won it) nearly 70 years ago."
‑ Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"Alexander Sokurov's The Sun demands and rewards patience."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle
"Though he successfully humanizes Hirohito, who is shown happily shedding his divinity, Sokurov doesn't entirely exonerate him."
‑ J. Hoberman, Village Voice
"Alexander Sokurov's "The Sun," arriving in the U.S. five years after its release in Europe, is a stunning film, fascinating to some, probably sleep-inducing to others."
‑ Janos Gereben, San Francisco Examiner
"Sokurov takes a few steps back and observes Hirohito and MacArthur with something like amused equanimity."
‑ Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
"...Aleksandr Sokurov films the first half of his movie as if underwater, a sinking ship as it were, with slightly tilted angles, the sound of groaning metal, and staircases spiraling down to an underground bunker."
‑ Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"The Sun took four years to reach American theaters, but the long delay hasn't diminished the force of Sokurov's experimentation."
‑ Sam Adams, AV Club
"Sokurov sees his titans of history as men playing gods, and Hirohito's climactic renunciation of his divinity is the deeply affecting end point."
‑ Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
"Those with the patience to stick with Sokurov's stately pacing will find an engrossing character study in "The Sun," that of a very odd, polite man who also happened to lead a nation at war during World War II."
‑ Rob Thomas, Capital Times (Madison, WI)
"Sokurov doesn't answer MacArthur's disingenuous question, but ... he suggests why no one else can either."
‑ Peter Keough, Boston Phoenix
"Finds beauty, madness and outright bizarreness in the sight of a lost, slightly freakish man attempting to understand his altering reality."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
More reviews for Solntse (The Sun) on Rotten Tomatoes