(aka "Solntse" )

 

directed by Aleksandr Sokurov
Russia / France / Italy / Switzerland 2005

 

The first two films in Alexander Sokurov’s trilogy about (in)famous men of power – ‘Moloch’ (on Hitler) and ‘Taurus’ (Lenin) – were turgid, trite and a tad problematic (implying, for example, that the Führer didn’t know about Auschwitz). Happily, this final instalment, chronicling a day in the life of Japan’s Emperor Hirohito at the end of WWII, makes for a conclusion that’s not only superior to its predecessors but a fine, fascinating film in its own right. What makes Hirohito’s story special is that he agreed, when surrendering to the Allies and commanding his subjects to stop sacrificing their lives for Japan and him, to renounce his imperial claim to divinity. Wisely, Sokurov focuses on this tricky moment of transition, with Hirohito (Issey Ogata, from Edward Yang’s ‘Yi-Yi’) introduced as he dresses with the rather redundant help of a loyal old retainer. The rest of the day includes a meeting with chiefs of staff, time spent on personal interests (marine biology, haiku, Hollywood stars), and two sessions with General MacArthur (Robert Dawson): a day, despite its historic import, lived by a human rather than the descendant of a sun goddess. In showing Hirohito trying out this novel notion, Sokurov avails himself of a witty, touching, supremely expressive turn by Ogata, illuminating not only the gloomier corners of the imperial bunker but the obscure parameters of what was, inevitably, a strange psyche. Indeed, the entire film (and, perhaps, the trilogy) may finally be regarded as a journey into light: Hirohito’s abrogation of privilege and power liberates his people, his family and himself from a death-wish deeply ingrained in twentieth-century life.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Theatrical Release: February 17, 2005 (Berlin International Film Festival)

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DVD Review: Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

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Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:50:21
Video

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.56 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Japanese / English
Subtitles English (when spoken Japanese), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Production Notes by Alexander Sokorov
• Filmographies
• Trailer

DVD Release Date: February 20, 2006
Amarey

Chapters 14

 

 

Comments Shot on HD-video, digitally manipulated, then transferred to 35mm, the transfer is not without issues. Compression artefacts vary from scene to scene, depending on whether shot in studio or outdoors, whether what light source is present, whether its manipulated or not.

The film is presented in a tight anamorphic, progressive transfer at 1.78:1 (not its OAR of 1.85:1. A marginal loss of about 4%).

The sound comes in 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby digital. The 5.1 is to be preferred, as it allows a wider sound stage, versus a claustrophobic feel to the 2.0, especially when overlapping multiple dialogue.

 - Henrik Sylow

 

 






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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL


 




 

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