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Movie Review: 'Burnt By the Sun' (1995) 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… R Drama Foreign Language Ingeborga Dapkunaite Nikita Mikhalkov Sony Pictures Classics
Movie Review

Movie Review: 'Burnt By the Sun' (1995)

MPAA Rating: R

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EW's GRADE
B+

Details Rated: R; Genres: Drama, Foreign Language; With: Ingeborga Dapkunaite and Nikita Mikhalkov; Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

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+

Originally posted May 12, 1995 Published in issue #274 May 12, 1995 Order article reprints