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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]