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36 Reviews
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A special mention for Nadya
It must be added to the review comments that the performance by Nadezhda Mikhalkova, who plays the Colonel's young daughter is quite amazing. I'm normally left cold by child actors, particularly the Macaulay Culkin variety, but this little girl's acting is light years away from that, totally absorbing and very touching at times. Given that the plot partially revolves...
Published on 28 July 2000

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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed film on important theme, with dazzling child acting
This film about the effect of Stalin's murderous purges on the old Bolshevik guard who brought him to power in and after the 1917 revolution falls into two segments. First, a long (almost two hours worth) description of the eccentric extended family of a semi-retired red army colonel and hero at play in summer at their dacha outside Moscow. They are joined by a young man...
Published on 12 July 2009 by Humpty Dumpty


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A special mention for Nadya, 28 July 2000
By A Customer
It must be added to the review comments that the performance by Nadezhda Mikhalkova, who plays the Colonel's young daughter is quite amazing. I'm normally left cold by child actors, particularly the Macaulay Culkin variety, but this little girl's acting is light years away from that, totally absorbing and very touching at times. Given that the plot partially revolves around her being used as a pawn in the game between Mitya and the Colonel, and her importance in the representation of the idyllic pastoral life of the Colonel's family, the achievement is all the more remarkable. I didn't discover until after seeing the film that she is the real life daughter of the director/lead actor. This explains the obvious rapport and affection between them, but Mikhalkov is totally justified in using her for the role.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superbly acted tragi-comedy, 8 Oct 2008
By 
Bluebell (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
The first half of the film is like a Checkov play, but with plenty of humour. We witness the lyrical existence of a well-off, multi-generational family living in beautiful countryside seemingly immune from Stalin's purges in the 1930s. Gradually one feels a sense of menace and the film becomes darker and more complex. The acting is excellent but one must single out the little girl who plays Nadia whose screen presence and sparkle are quite amazing. A wonderful and moving film.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comical, tragic and moving, 17 Dec 2009
By 
Spilsbury (UK, Liverpool) - See all my reviews
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This is a wonderful film for many reasons. The cinematography showing the beautiful Russian countryside and idyllic family life is one strength of the film. The quality of the acting, and particularly of the child is very impressive. Where it really strikes home is in the blend of humour, gaiety and impending tragedy colliding together, with the menacing undertones and threat always present throughout the film, but only apparent at the end. This is in many ways a black comedy with pathos, and the ability to leave you feeling angst ridden at its conclusion, knowing that the story represents the experience of so many real lives.
Essentially a retired War Hero finds himself out of favour with Stalin. Whilst engrossed in his idyllic and happy family life we have hints of the impending danger which will see him collected by the former childhood lover of his much younger wife, who a visiting dandy, works for the NKVD. This charming character reveals his true intentions slowly, and one cannot help but share a feeling of helplessness as the precious moments of freedom and life, tick away, as he informs the General of his impending arrest.
The Generals departure in front of his family is with stoicism and the brave face of a military man, and the leaving scene with his child is very poignant.
This is a wonderful film, and the black comedy makes the subject matter somehow more bearable, without compromising the real sense of pathos and haunting sadness it left me with. I would well recommend this film. It touches a grave matter with a lightness of touch, but this should not be mistaken for light hearted.It is the small poignant moments which really testify to the tragic nature of the storyline.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent film, 10 Jan 2006
By 
Sophie Masson (Armidale, New South Wales Australia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Burnt By the Sun [DVD] [1995] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Stalin's crimes are too huge to comprehend on a large scale; this story, focussing as it does on the lives of one family, makes the crimes both more immediate and more unbearable. With its mixture of tragedy, humour, beauty, chilling sense of the uncanny, and the massive violence that suddenly erupts, it's a very Russian film and very, very haunting. One of the best films to be made about this period--along with The Thief, which allegorically depicts the way in which Communism stole the soul of Russia. Burnt by the Sun is a film you'll never forget.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic and compelling, 13 Aug 2008
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This is set during the Russian Stalinist purges, and is based on a true story. It is nice to look at, taking part during a hot summer. But appearances are deceptive.

Dimitri played by Oleg Menchikov (he played a sinister character in an episode of 'Prime Suspect'), arrives at the home of a decorated Colonel, who lives with his wife Maroussia and their daughter, Nadia. The child who plays Nadia is excellent in her acting. Dimitri is charming and seems but (Edited out by me)

Haunting soundtrack.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping drama of betrayal and oppression in Stalin's USSR, 31 Oct 2000
Burnt By The Sun is an incredibly striking and moving film. Telling the true story of a family during one of the worst Stalinist purges of the mid thirties, it is intriguing throughout and involves the reader from the onset. Nikita Mikhailov, the director who also plays the father Sergei, has set the story at the beginning of summer in rural Russia. The action takes place during the course of one day, a Bolshevik holiday. Mikhailov, as director, shows the viewer various sides of Russia, or more precisely the USSR state.
The film is gripping from the beginning. Mikhailov portrays all different aspects of human nature. The characters are all believable and intensely likeable. the cinematography is striking and varied, contrasting luscious rural Russia with grey, bleak, Soviet Moscow. Similarly, the happy atmosphere of the holiday is ruined by the sinister undertones of life during Stalin's era.
Don't be put off by the language - the subtitles are clear and the acting and scenery excellent. This film is a firm favourite of mine.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films ever made, 1 Dec 2003
This review is from: Burnt By the Sun [DVD] [1995] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I can recommend for those who have not seen this film to organise themself before watching (sending kids somewhere else, switching the phones off) because you just want to be a quiet witness of what is going on, it is like you are inside of the story of love, passion, fate and history that requiers sacrifies of many lives. Truly human film with moments of laughter and grief.
it's a must to see it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stalins Terror, 8 May 2009
Great Russian French co-production. Feeling for period is spot on, great ensemble acting. The end, although predictable, is an insight into how the terror of Stalin in the late 1930s operated. Leaves memories of how people lived through these terrible times and the coming of WW2. Highly recommend.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chekov meets Stalin, 11 May 2006
This review is from: Burnt By the Sun [DVD] [1995] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
The slow, Chekovian first half of this film makes the sudden interruption of Stalinist reality all the more devastating. Beautifully filmed, wonderfully acted. I showed this to a group of English Media Studies school students and they rated it the best film they'd ever seen. Be prepared to cry.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars atmospheric and moving, 27 April 2009
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very beautiful and poigniant film. The contrast of life's beauty with the brutality of the very limited violence is more striking than many a gore-fest might attempt to be. Beautiful scenes. Do not watch this in a hurry. Give yourself the a full 146 minutes uninterrupted. It is long and not fast paced but that's part of it's beauty.
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Burnt By the Sun [DVD] [1995] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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