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When a warlord dies, a peasant thief is called upon to impersonate him, in order to protect his clan from appearing weak and vulnerable. But he finds himself haunted by the warlord’s spirit as well as his own ambitions.

The Sun (Solntse)

August 15, 1945: a shocked Japan hears the voice of divine leader Emperor Hirohito for the first time, as he implores his people to cease all military activity, initiating a formal end to WWII and the beginning of a new period of American Occupation, led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Acclaimed Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov (“Russian Ark,” “Mother and Son” “Alexandra”) creates an incisive, eerie portrait of the enigmatic Hirohito during the twilight of the war, as he faces surrender and renunciation of his divine status. Issey Ogata (who played the father in YI YI) gives a mesmerizing performance as the defeated emperor whose legendary meetings with MacArthur determine the fate of his nation and lay the foundation for Japan’s phoenix-like postwar reconstruction. “Wonderfully eccentric and fascinating … As a portrait of pathology – that of Japan and of Hirohito both – it’s terrific.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times. [Synopsis courtesy of Film Forum]

Helter Skelter

Through round after round of extensive plastic surgery and vigorous maintenance, Ririko has become the absolute manifestation of beauty, and becomes a wildly successful model, actress, and singer. However, soon, her body, unable to withstand the burdens of surgery, begins to crumble, and along with it so does her mind, as she plummets towards a frightening and inevitable end.