In one of the many moving scenes in Nikita Mikhalkov’s Oscar-winning fable, Sergueï Kotov (played by Mikhalkov), a robust hero of the revolution, takes his 6-year-old daughter (Nadia Mikhalkov) out on a rowboat. For a few tender minutes, we understand the Communist dream in all its utopian fervor. Set in 1936, just as Stalin was launching the great purges, Burnt by the Sun is about the moment when Russian Communism passed from idealism into nightmare. If it is finally a good film and not a great one, that’s because Mikhalkov never quite comes to grips with the question he forces us to ask: To what degree was Stalin’s nightmare inherent in Kotov’s dream? B+
Genre: Drama, Foreign Language; Starring: Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Nikita Mikhalkov; Director: Nikita Mikhalkov; Status: In Season; MPAA Rating: In Season; Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Posted May 12 1995 — 12:00 AM EDT
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