|The Film||Director||Credits||Cast||Press Quotes||Images|
THE SUNJapan, August 1945. Millions of Japanese are stunned to hear the voice of their Emperor for the first time, as he commands his people to cease all fighting. Though the address saves the lives of countless Japanese and thousands more Allied forces, the victorious powers insist Emperor Hirohito appear before a military tribunal.
Alexander Sokurov’s fascinating and compelling film chronicles the events leading up to Hirohito’s momentous speech, the historic renunciation of his divine status and his meetings with General Douglas MacArthur, the commander-in-chief of the occupying American forces, who advises his own President not to declare the Japanese leader a war criminal.
Featuring a towering central performance by Issey Ogata, Sokurov creates an intimate portrait of a human being deeply affected by the tragedy that besets his country.
Highly acclaimed at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival ('A must see', Screen International), THE SUN is the third chapter of Sokurov’s tetralogy on 20th Century men of power and is linked to his earlier Moloch and Taurus.
The film portrays the events leading up to two crucial decisions made by Hirohito, which were both of major historical significance. The first was the declaration of Japan's surrender in World War 2, and the second was the renunciation of the Emperor’s divine status. During this period, the Emperor also forms an unlikely bond with the American General Douglas McArthur who did much to resolve the situation with the minimum of victims. Sokurov’s film makes cinematic history as it is the first time that the Emperor Hirohito has been depicted in film, in this intimate way.
'What is it that unites Moloch, Taurus and THE SUN? The key is the depiction of the hero who suffers a personal tragedy. We meet Hitler in Moloch at the onset of a collapse of his individuality. We see Lenin in Taurus, strong, violent, not willing to surrender to death, in love with power. Each one of them faces a catastrophe caused by their own decisions and actions. Hitler brings the situation to a senseless tragedy: it is clear that the war is lost but, in fulfilling his will, soldiers continue to die. He takes many lives with him to extinction.
Lenin resists non-extinction too - it’s as if he casts into the future his dying despair, his intolerance. It appears that there are different ways out of tragic situations.
The Japanese Emperor Hirohito is a symbol of a constructive finale or, more accurately, not a finale but a continuation of life. It is possible to see with an inner gaze, ruins in a destroyed city, but one can also see dozens of spared buildings - to put it in perspective. For that there is the need of a special human nature.'
'I don’t make films about dictators, so much as I make films about those people who are more outstanding than the rest. They appeared to be in possession of ultimate power. But human characteristics such as weakness and passion effect their deeds more than status and circumstances. Human qualities are higher than any historical situation, higher and stronger.'
Director Alexander Sokurov