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

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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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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

Followed by Faust (2011) 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

A hard viewing but psychologically interesting for some
14 March 2005 | by (Moscow, Russia) – See all my reviews

Another part of Sokurov's "totalitarian" sequence, this is devoted to Japanese WW II-time Emperor Hirohito and his farewell to the old good times of imperial Japan and painful entry into new after-war realities of defeated Japan rising to "democracy" and subject to America's "civilizing".

Compared to the dictators previously depicted by Sokurov (Hitler and Lenin), Hirohito appears the least dictatorial: he sometimes is felt like a "hostage" of the desire to defend the country's own pass of development against the "corroding" influx of Western "plebeian" culture, the desire which led Japan into the fascist "axis" and determined its defeat when the old traditions of relying on the soldiers' spirit and honour and not technical power, and despising non-Japanese as barbarians did not justify themselves.

The film is a hard viewing even for art-house fans because of obscure (probably psychologically justified) coloring and virtually no exterior action. All the action is psychological depicting the way the Emperor comes to reality and to realizing (and publicly declaring) that he is a man, not God, and taking the disgrace of defeat on himself to save his country.

Overall, 7/10.


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