Alexander Sokurov's THE SUN
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
I have no idea how factually accurate this movie about Emperor Hirohito’s emergence following Japan’s defeat in WWII is. As a movie, though, it is engrossing, thoughtful, and occasionally, visually dazzling.
One downside: Americans are, generally, portrayed as boorish louts, starting with MacArthur in his personal dealings with the Emperor. But overall the portrayal of disintegrating traditions in the face of a demolished and defeated country is captivating.
The effective portrayal of the isolated monarch’s aloof behavior, pampered by those who surround him, is periodically punctuated by ghastly scenes of Tokyo in smoldering ruins.
It’s impossible to separate the two. The eventual decision by the Emperor to relinquish his “divine” status is clearly entwined with the doom visited on his country in retribution for the war.
But this is not a tale of personal redemption, as the final — and painful — scenes demonstrate.
Review copyright (c) 2010 by Dennis D. McDonald