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The Cinema of Alexander SokurovFigures of Paradox$
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Jeremi Szaniawski

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231167352

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231167352.001.0001

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The Sun

The Sun

Iconoclastic Humanism

(p.218) Chapter Thirteen The Sun
The Cinema of Alexander Sokurov

Jeremi Szaniawski

Columbia University Press

This chapter reviews The Sun (2005). The Sun, Sokurov's third instalment in the tetralogy of power, focuses on the crucial hours preceding the abdication of Japan in World War II and Emperor Hirohito's relinquishing of his divine status. The emperor is confronted by General Douglas MacArthur, who is to decide whether to have the emperor hanged or not. While the outcome of this encounter is well-known, Sokurov sheds new light on the two men's interaction and its consequences. The Sun is somewhat surprising and unexpected to the Sokurov fan in the sense that, while inscribing itself within the tetralogy of power, it manages to break with a certain tendency in Sokurov to portray madness and alienation. While the film avoids any kind of glorification or vilification of its subject, Sokurov pays homage to Hirohito by showing him as more fallible and more humane than he might ever have been.

Keywords:   The Sun, power, Japan, World War II, Emperor Hirohito, Douglas MacArthur, madness, alienation

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