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Sun, The (DVD Review)

26 May, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Street 6/1/10
Kino Lorber
Box Office $0.08 million
$29.95 DVD
Not rated.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

In Alexander Sokurov’s The Sun, the Russian director’s 2005 fictional foray into the frame of mind of Japanese Emperor Hirohito (Issei Ogata) during the final days of World War II, the almost mythical deity is presented in near childlike denial to the realities of the approaching American soldiers outside his Tokyo Palace.

He muses about the perceived origins of the war and the reality that he may soon be the last Japanese man standing.

In a meeting with military leaders, Hirohito accepts reluctant pleas from ministers and generals that Japanese soldiers will fight to the very end — while seemingly more interested in reading poetry and marine biology.

The film gets interesting when Gen. Douglas MacArthur (Robert Dawson) sends for Hirohito to discuss the details of surrender. MacArthur, who was forced to surrender the Philippine province of Bataan to the Japanese during the early days of the war (enduring significant American losses), is openly cavalier to Hirohito (telling a Japanese assistant to “shut up and interpret”) before warming up to him.

The Sun requires great patience and a love of subtlety. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift it is not.

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