Following on from Moloch (Hitler) and Taurus (Lenin), The Sun is the final part in Russian director Alexandr Sokurov's trilogy about 20th-century rulers. It offers an intimate and sympathetic portrait of Japanese Emperor Hirohito during the summer of 1945.
Set after US forces have entered Tokyo, The Sun sees Hirohito (Issei Ogata) about to meet General MacArthur (Robert Dawson) and preparing to make a radio address to his people, urging surrender. Not easy when this entails the renunciation of your divine status.
Sedately paced and shot in a muted colour palette, this sepulchral drama restricts itself to interior settings to emphasise its subject's confinement. It succeeds largely thanks to Ogata's nuanced performance as the diminutive Hirohito, a Charlie Chaplin lookalike who emerges both as a child-like figure and a man of decency and pragmatic vision.