Burnt by the Sun 2

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Burnt by the Sun 2: Prestanding
Burnt by the Sun 2.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov
Produced by Nikita Mikhalkov
Written by Nikita Mikhalkov
Starring Nikita Mikhalkov
Oleg Menshikov
Cinematography Vladislav Opelyants
Edited by Svetolik Zajc
Production
company
Three T Productions
Distributed by Central Partnership
Release dates
  • 22 April 2010 (2010-04-22)
Running time
181 minutes
Country Russia
Language Russian
Budget $55 million
Box office $8.2 million[1]

Burnt by the Sun 2 (Russian: Утомлённые солнцем 2, translit. Utomlyonnye solntsem 2: Predstoyanie) is a 2010 Russian drama film directed by and starring Nikita Mikhalkov. The film consists of two parts: Exodus (Предстояние, literally 'Prestanding') and Citadel (Цитадель). It is the sequel to Mikhalkov's 1994 film Burnt by the Sun, set in the Eastern Front of World War II. Burnt by the Sun 2 had the largest production budget ever seen in Russian cinema ($55 mln), but it turned out to be Russia's biggest box office flop, and received negative reviews from critics both in Russia and abroad.

Plot[edit]

Exodus[edit]

The film begins in June 1941. Five years have passed since the lives and destinies of Colonel Sergei Petrovich Kotov, his wife Maroussia, their daughter Nadia, as well as those of Mitya and the Sverbitski family, were irrevocably changed: it has meant five years of incarceration for General Kotov (Nikita Mikhalkov), the former Revolutionary hero betrayed by Stalin. He escapes certain death in the Gulag and fights on the Eastern Front as a private.

It has been five years of terror for his wife Maroussia, without the husband she believes is dead and with a daughter who has rejected her. Nadia has spent five years in hiding, proud of her father whom she refuses to disown and whom she believes is alive, despite all reports to the contrary.

Mitya (Oleg Menshikov) survived his suicide attempt, and reluctantly continues to execute the orders of a regime he holds in contempt. Stalin, with his nation under attack by former ally Adolf Hitler, recalls many of those whom he has had exiled to the GULAG. He tries to mobilize the Soviet population – by any means necessary – to rise against the threat of Nazism.

Citadel[edit]

This is the epic of World War II's Eastern Front, a sequel to Burnt by the Sun (1994), stressing what is presented as Stalin's evil terrorizing the people of the Soviet Union, while the Nazis are on the rise. Kotov, a Russian officer who miraculously survived the death penalty in Stalin's Purge is now fighting at the front. His daughter, Nadia, who survived an attempted rape by Nazi soldiers, is now a nurse risking her own life to save others. In the war-torn nation, even former enemies are fighting together to defend their country. The people are standing together for victory. The war to the death has a high cost: the Nazis killing people, burning villages, raping women, churches bombed, bridges destroyed. Hoping to survive Kotov and his daughter have the vision of each other, but their dreams vanish in the massive bombardment of the media. With fire and smoke beyond the sun in the country everything alive is helpless and strewn with the dead. The dead are covered with snow – for them, life is over. There remains only a butterfly flying over their arms and bodies, in reference to eternity.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on a visit to the movie set in Leningrad Oblast on 13 May 2008 (see the video below).
Video of this visit by Vladimir Putin to the set in 2008.

The film received mostly negative reviews from both Russian and western critics. It was panned for historical inaccuracies, retconning, bad acting and other failures.[2][3] It was criticized for abruptly breaking with the continuity of the first film, including mysteriously resurrecting characters presumed dead and changing their ages. For example, according to the first film, Nadia would have been 11 in 1941, but she is portrayed as an adult.[4]

Critics panned many provocative episodes, such as a German pilot defecating on a Soviet ship, or Kotov's dipping Stalin into a cake. The Russian media reviews were especially hostile to the film, because of its revisionist portrayal of Soviet army and Soviet leaders. As web publicist Dmitry Puchkov noted, "like any other nation, Russians don't want to see their fathers portrayed as shit."[5] Western critics were mostly negative as well. The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt criticized the film for "sticking too closely to the Kremlin's approved version of World War II and for its promotion of Orthodox Christianity."[3] An American film critic likened its portrayal of the madness of World War II to the American Joseph Heller's Catch 22.[3]

Burnt by the Sun 2: Prestanding had the highest-ever budget for a Russian film ($55 million) but made a very poor box-office showing, despite heavy promotion that included a premiere inside the Moscow Kremlin.[6]

The film was screened at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival[7] and was allowed to compete for awards, although it had premiered before the festival. At Cannes it received a standing ovation,[8] but no awards.

The Russian opposition activist Valeria Novodvorskaya said that despite her complete disagreement with the political views of Mikhalkov (who expresses support towards Putin) and despite the film's being "artistically ungifted", she believed it is a good depiction of the first stages of the war against Germany. It shows how badly the Red Army was prepared for war because of Stalin's poor strategic skills.[9]

In September 2011, the Russian Film Committee selected Burnt by the Sun 2: Citadel as the Russian nominee for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[10][11] This move was followed with protests and disagreement from many filmmakers, including another Academy Awards recipient Vladimir Menshov and Mikhalkov's brother, director Andrey Konchalovsky.[12][13] The film was not included in the Oscar's short list.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]