Russia, 1936: revolutionary hero Colonel Kotov is spending an idyllic summer in his dacha with his young wife and six-year-old daughter Nadia and other assorted family and friends. Things ... See full summary »
The shepherd Gombo lives with his wife, three children and grandmother in a tent on the Mongolian steppe. They are pleased with their rustic conditions, until a Russian truck driver, ... See full summary »
Early in the 20th century, family and friends gather at the country estate of a general's widow, Anna Petrovna. Sofia, the new wife of Anna's step-son, recognizes Misha, the brother-in-law ... See full summary »
Olga Voznesenskaya is a silent screen star whose pictures are so popular that underground revolutionaries risk capture to see them. She's in southern Russia filming a tear-jerker as the ... See full summary »
St. Petersburg, mid 19th century: the indolent, middle-aged Oblomov lives in a flat with his older servant, Zakhar. He sleeps much of the day, dreaming of his childhood on his parents' ... See full summary »
Aboard a ship early in the 20th-century, a middle-aged Italian tells his story of love to a Russian. In a series of flashbacks filmed almost entirely in creams, whites, and ochers, the ... See full summary »
Russia, 1936: revolutionary hero Colonel Kotov is spending an idyllic summer in his dacha with his young wife and six-year-old daughter Nadia and other assorted family and friends. Things change dramatically with the unheralded arrival of Cousin Dmitri from Moscow, who charms the women and little Nadia with his games and pianistic bravura. But Kotov isn't fooled: this is the time of Stalin's repression, with telephone calls in the middle of the night spelling doom - and he knows that Dmitri isn't paying a social call... Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Like most film lovers I prize invention, originality and formal daring. BURNT BY THE SUN is a very conservative historical epic, full of sweeping scenes paralelling intimate domestic exchanges; theatrical framings and acting with lots of dialogue; Jarre-esque sugary Romantic music; a fetishisation of nature.
Nevertheless, I loved this film to bits, for all these reasons. it was as rich as a novel (although it is an original), yet full of the vibrancy, life, violence, anger, and comedy absent from most literary adaptations. There is also a sense of using a cliched mode to attack its assumptions, as Chekhovian comedy turns into a denunciation of totalitarianism, and a more absurdist register.
Mikhalkov's filming of a superficially ugly Russia is lyrical and emotionally charged, and his own performance is like watching an oak tree being systematically hacked, sublime in its reach. Packed with memorable, searing set-pieces, but the filming of Marusya's confusion on Mitya's return, or his story to Nadya, shot with Nicholas Ray's feel for decor, stand out for me.
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