16 April 2010, 16:38

Nikita Mikhalkov’s “Burnt by the Sun-II”

Nikita Mikhalkov’s “Burnt by the Sun-II”

Nikita Mikhalkov’s “Burnt by the Sun-II” is due to be screened for the first time in 20 Russian cities on April 17th. It will also be shown at the same time. The movie actually consists of two parts, and it’s the first one that’s due to be screened now.

Nikita Mikhalkov’s “Burnt by the Sun-II” is due to be screened for the first time in 20 Russian cities on April 17th. It will also be shown at the same time. The movie actually consists of two parts, and it’s the first one that’s due to be screened now. In May the film by the prominent Russian film-maker is due to hit the screen of the famous Cannes festival. The movie forms part of the festival’s main event. The first reaction of the venerable Russian film-maker was this.

As to the Cannes festival, Nikita Mikhalkov says, I am not really excited any more. This will be the fourth time that my film has competed in Cannes. Therefore I think that what is important now is, first, that a Russian movie form part of the competition, since last time this happened long ago; secondly, the presence in Cannes is sort of getting an impulse for distribution the world over. A company that buys a film for showing it around the world sees it as quite important that the movie be part of the Cannes festival main event. But then, I am not really looking to anything special, no hope to that end. But did Mikhalkov hope to win an Oscar when he shot his first film “Burnt by the Sun” 16 years ago? Hardly so. But his film about basically an ordinary story of one day of a large family in the countryside met with response and appraisal, and won the prestigious US Academy award.

The film is about an aged professor and his wife, - the prerevolutionary intellectuals, and of a military leader, the hero of the Bolshevik revolution and Civil War, and of his young wife and charming little daughter. There is also a family friend-turned traitor and executioner of the family…. A summer day of 1936 begins carelessly and calmly, but ends in a tragedy, - the heroic military leader Kotov is arrested by security police agents. The audience is almost certain that he would hardly survive life in concentration camps and would be eventually added to the millions of victims of Stalin’s political purges.

But the latest film “Burnt by the Sun-II” sort of resurrects Kotov, to throw him into the heat of the Second World War during the hardest period of fighting, - from 1941 to 1943, when the Red Army was retreating under the pressure of Nazi troops. Nikita Mikhalkov feels that the war against Nazi Germany was made up of tens of millions of individual wars with their moments of joy and grief, and their victories. As the film-maker narrates a private story in his movie, he is trying nonetheless to create a polyphonic image of war and heroes’ fates….

The second part of the “Burnt by the Sun-II” is due to hit the screens in autumn this year. Nikita Mikhalkov says this is a kind of his response to Steven Spielberg’s movie “Saving Private Ryan”. Mikhalkov says he was taken aback by the way young viewers in France, for example, reacted to the film. When watching that film (Saving Private Ryan), one was made believe that the most terrible and fierce war in human history was won by Russia’s US and European allies. Although it is perfectly well known that the Allies joined the war in 1944, when it became clear that the USSR would be able to defeat Nazis on its own. That is why I was itched to make a film that would boost the national immune system, Mikhalkov says. But the most important thing, of course, he adds, is that people should come to realize that life is an absolutely invaluable gift.     

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