The third in Russian master Sokurov's series of unconventional dictator biographies, "The Sun" paints an intimate portrait of the daily life of Japan's Emperor Hirohito (Ogata) in the final days of WWII. The eccentric Hirohito's minutely ordered schedule, which ranges from seeing ministers to studying the dissection of a hermit crab, is interrupted by a meeting with American forces regarding Japan's impending surrender. How will someone considered a deity by his subjects face life as an ordinary man?
"The Sun" provides the detailed (if only loosely accurate) character portraiture, voluptuous cinematography, and meticulous pacing we have come to expect from Sokurov's idiosyncratic biographies, while adding a dash of unexpected humor to his usual bag of tricks. Hirohito is well and warmly drawn by Ogata, from his eccentric hobbies, to his mild, almost child-like demeanor, to his charmingly Chaplin-esque mustache. This exceedingly humanizing portrait of the infamous Emperor provides a fascinating contrast to the public face of one of history's most powerful and (in his country) revered figures. Finally released in the United States after years in limbo, this is a must for lovers of history and Sokurov's work.