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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 June 2017
A very good film, particularly if you like the period. Delivery was spot on.
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VINE VOICEon 10 January 2006
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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on 17 December 2009
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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on 31 October 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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on 19 October 2009
Burnt by the Sun is a haunting an evocative account of life in Stalin's Soviet Union. But for the viewer, the true horror of totalitarianism only becomes apparent at the end of the film. Initially, Nikita Mikhalkov's subtle directing leads the viewer into a false sense of security. The beautiful Russian countryside and domestic bliss in the Kotov household disguise a far darker presence. But slowly, viewers of the film become increasingly aware that not all is well when Mitya, the NKVD officer (played brilliantly by Oleg Menshikov) appears.

Anyone who is interested in Russia and recent Russian history should see 'Burnt by the Sun'. It starts slowly but builds to a startling climax. The acting and directing are fantastic. A must-see film.
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on 6 June 2009
"Burnt by the Sun" is a chilling look at the period in Soviet history when Stalin began removing those who had been the loyal Bolsheviks way back. The film was made in 1994, after the fall of the Soviet Union.
By 1936 the Bolshevik hero had become a potential danger, and had to be removed. A young man is sent from Moscow to implement this in the case of a loyal and decorated soldier who has settled with his young wife and daughter in a country dacha that was his reward. There are some light-hearted moments in the film, but an overwhelming sense of the darkness that was created by the Stalinist period prevails. A wonderful film, even with the rather unnecessary drilling into our heads that Stalin was an ever-present power.
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on 3 May 2011
This is a touching and beautifully photographed film depicting a Russian family in an idyllic setting during the Stalinist era and before Hitler invaded Russia.The father is a high ranking officer in the Army just prior to Joe Stalin's purges of the military elite.He is a person with privileges and his family lives well but we suspect that this will be a short-lived summer in the sun for all by the end of the film. More copies of the sequel need to be made available via Amazon.ie,Burnt By The Sun 2,which was made some thirty years later to give the main actor time to age naturally to film what became of him and the horrors that war had in store for him.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 October 2008
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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on 27 April 2009
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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on 10 March 2011
Soleil Trompeur is the original name of this Russian/French film. I happened to watch it on TV recently and was so taken by it that I ordered it from Amazon the following day knowing that I would want to see it again and again.

The film is set in rural Soviet in the mid l930s where cruelty and betrayal is everywhere and you cannot even trust your nearest and dearest. Colonel Sergei Kotov has retired to his datcha with his big household of charmingly whimsical and sentimental characters who seem to have stepped straight out of a Chekhov play. Kotov has a young wife and a lovely 6-year old daughter, little Nadia. The atmosphere is leisurly and playful. There are lively discussions on the verandah freely sharing thoughts about the new Soviet Union mixed with nostalgia for the old Russian ways. There is no complaining about life in the Bolshevik state, someone says, but the flavour has gone missing. Kotov himself has fought for the revolution and has a deep belief in communism.

An old friend of the family, Dimitri, suddenly turns up. We already know from the opening scene of the film that Dimitri is an influential man with his own apartment in central Moscow and his own valet. He is also a charming and easy-going man who has soon won everyone over, especially the ladies, and he finds a friend and playmate in the colonel's little daughter. There is fun and games, plays and fairy tales, but below the surface there is a hidden message in the tales and a foreboding of something evil. Dimitri has come to visit the family for a reason, and Kotov soon realizes this. You can see it in the colonel's eyes. A blazing red sun moves like a search light over the river and between the trees, finding its way into the datcha. A symbol of Stalin, the Soleil Trompeur, making himself known. Destiny finally comes in the shape of three men in a big black car.

There is very good acting in both the leading and supporting roles, but I was especially touched by the tender relationship between Kotov and his daughter. I love the scene when they sit in a rowing boat on the river and Kotov gently picks up his daughter's foot and holds in in his hand. He tells her that when communism has changed everything for the better and nobody needs to struggle anymore, everyone will have soft feet like hers. Colonel Kotov is played by the director Nikita Mikhalkov himself and his own daughter plays little Nadia. She is probably the most impressive child actress I have ever seen. It is a rare, beautiful film full of warmth, sensuality and humour up to the tragic ending.
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