Shooting Down Pictures Video: BURNT BY THE SUN
A deceptively picturesque portrait of Russia’s past glories and horrors.
Burnt by the Sun, directed by Nikita Mikhalkov was formerly ranked among the 1000 Greatest Films of All Time according to They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? I made the following video as part of my blog project Shooting Down Pictures.
On my blog entry for this film, I wrote:
This Foreign Film Oscar winner by actor/director Nikita Mikhailkov is only one of two post-Soviet Russian films in the TSPDT 1000 – like the other one, Russian Ark (TSPDT #929), it is a revisitation of its nation’s past glories and horrors. An idyllic, Capra-esque household led by the gentle patriarchal war hero Kotov (Mikhailkov) is forever disrupted by the mysterious reappearance of Mitya (Oleg Menshikov), former lover of Dmitri’s wife, who comes to symbolize a frightening new tenor for those living in Stalin’s Russia of the 1930s. The film takes a good half of its running time getting to its point of intrigue, electing to bask in the summer glow of an outdoor family idyll, Kotov doting extensively on his young daughter (Mikhailkov’s real life daughter Nadia). The results feel as static as filmed theater at times, though Mikhailkov loads his frames with symbolism both obvious (a woman letting the faucet overflow upon the appearance of her ex-lover) and bizarre (a fireball that vandalizes the home without anyone noticing). However it steadily builds to a sobering climax, one that brings out the moral complexities and lack of absolutes between both Kotov and Mitya.