Third part in Aleksandr Sokurov's quadrilogy of Power, following Moloch (1999) and Taurus (2001), focuses on Japanese Emperor Hirohito and Japan's defeat in World War II when he is finally confronted by General Douglas MacArthur who offers him to accept a diplomatic defeat for survival.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Empress Kojun
Shirô Sano ...
The chamberlain
Shinmei Tsuji ...
Old servant
Taijirô Tamura ...
Scientist
Georgiy Pitskhelauri ...
McArthur's warrant officer
Hiroya Morita ...
Suzuki, Prime Minister
Toshiaki Nishizawa ...
Yonai, Minister of the Navy
Naomasa Musaka ...
Yusuke Tozawa ...
Kido
Kôjirô Kusanagi ...
Togo, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Tetsuro Tsuno ...
General Umezu
Rokuro Abe ...
General Toyoda
Jun Haichi ...
Abe, Minister of the Interior
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Storyline

As Japan nears defeat at the end of World War II, Emperor Hirohito starts his day in a bunker underneath the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. A servant reads to him a list of activities for the day, including a meeting with his ministers, marine biology research, and writing his son. Hirohito muses about the impact on such schedules when the Americans arrive but is told that as long as there is a solitary Japanese person living, the Americans will not reach The Emperor. Hirohito replies that he at times feels like he himself will be the last Japanese person left alive. The servant reminds him that he is a deity, not a person, but Hirohito points out that he has a body just like any other man. He later reflects on the causes of the war when dictating observations about a hermit crab, and then about the peace to come when composing a letter to his son. Soon enough General Douglas MacArthur's personal car is sent to bring him through the ruins of Tokyo for a meeting with the supreme commander ... Written by Brian Greenhalgh

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

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Details

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Release Date:

18 November 2005 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

El sol  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,588 (USA) (20 November 2009)

Gross:

$76,357 (USA) (9 April 2010)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Aleksandr Sokurov kept the name of the actor playing the Emperor secret, since it is taboo in Japan to play an Emperor on film. Sokurov was afraid for the safety of the actor, after Nagisa Ôshima told him there have been two attempts on his life after he criticized Imperial Japan during WWII. See more »

Quotes

Shouwa-Tennou Hirohito: Our chances of victory in the war with the west were 50 out of 100. Germany's chances in this war were 100 out of 100.
General Douglas MacArthur: What are you talking about?
Shouwa-Tennou Hirohito: I'm talking about the alliance with Germany.
General Douglas MacArthur: Well, that is all in the past. There is only one unresolved issue left. That is the issue of your fate.
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Connections

Featured in Sokurovin ääni (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

4th & 5th movements from UNACCOMPANIED CELLO SUITE NO.5 C-MINOR, BWV. 1011
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Mstislav Rostropovich
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User Reviews

 
An elegant film on a small budget
10 September 2005 | by (Dublin,Ireland) – See all my reviews

I've never watched Russian Ark, Moloch or Taurus by Alexander Sokurov, but this was a real gem of a film and I will be keeping an eye out for other works by Sokurov. This is a film which captures the humanity of the Japanese Emperor Hirohito in the subsequent defeat of Nazi Germany. The role of Hirohito is played by Issei Ogata who makes a tremendous performance as the last Meiji Emperor, who comes across as a rather fallible and tolerant emperor. He struggles with the Japanese defeat and how to best deal with General MacArthur played by Robert Dawson.

Overall , I would give this film a 10/10 for the simple reason that the cinematic takes are absolutely breathtaking. The movie is engaging from the very beginning and Sokurov's portrayal of the ailing emperor inside an underground bunker requires tremendous talent and fantasy. Furthermore, I also liked the way Sokurov did not focus on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; I feel this would undermined the whole purpose of the film, which is biographical. On the negative side, however, I was rather unimpressed by the role of MacArthur, I felt it was a weak role and did not live to the Great General. Also, the GI's were pretty awful.

But it remains impressive , I highly recommend it!


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