Publication: The Stranger
Date published:
Language: English
PMID: 59135
Journal code: STRR


In 2005, the Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov completed his dictator series with The Sun, a meditation on the humanization of Japan's last god, Emperor Showa. The emperor is a contradiction: He is at once a god and a scientist-a marine biologist. It's fair to see this contradiction more as a point of transition from one world (the fantastic past with its spirits and otherworldly happenings) to the next world (a future that is godless, earthbound, and empirical). The emperor's body is this point of transition. Sokurov, who I rate as the greatest living director, also explores 19th-century American/ European racism, seeing its role in the amplification or justification of Japan's national pride. The scenes between the emperor and the American general (MacArthur) are pure cinematic gold. The emperor is dreamy, the general is arrogant; the emperor is childlike, the general is manly. The worlds the two come from have no connection whatsoever. Nothing in The Sun feels normal or ordinary. This is the realm of men made mad by power. (CHARLES MUDEDE) Northwest Film Forum, Thurs Jan 14 at 7, 9:15 pm.

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