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Russia's Anti-gay Laws May Affect Film About Tchaikovsky


Yuri Arabov Tchaikovsky

Yuri Arabov, a screenwriter working on a Russian biopic of Tchaikovsky, has insisted that a recently enacted law barring gay propaganda had no bearing on his decision to remove any reference to Tchaikovsky's sexual orientation from the movie. It is far from a fact that Tchaikovsky was a homosexual, Arabov told the Russian state newspaper Izvestia. Only philistines think this, he said. What philistines beieve should not be shown in films. But some critics are contending that removal of any reference to the composer's sexuality was necessary in order for the film to receive necessary state financing and that it flies in the face of much documentation, including Tchaikovsky's own writings, to the contrary. Russian-born musicologist Marina Frolova-Walker, who is director of studies in music at Cambridge University, has written that Tchaikovsky lived the life of a discreet homosexual forming a long-asting relationship with his servant Alyosha Sofronov, while from time to time he had temporary relationships with men of his own social class, like the violinist Josef Kotek.

The Sun Review


Excellent
How do you like your tyrant? You have so many choices these days that it's hard to figure out what's best. Take Hitler for example. If you want him stone cold and terrifying, go for Oliver Hirchbiegal's Downfall, in which Bruno Ganz gave one of the most intense performances of the year as the Fuhrer. Want it weak and sorta awkward? Noah Taylor's turn as Adolf in Menno Meyjes' halfhearted Max should be your ticket. But for outright strangeness and surrealism, you've got to stand and marvel at Aleksandr Sokurov's Moloch, about a day in the life of Hitler with his mistress, Eva Braun, and some other close friends. It's not any easy watch by any stretch of the imagination, which explains why most of his films don't get U.S. distribution: One has to track down these films in DVD or at film festivals. Don't expect his latest, The Sun, to be any sort of exception.

While Moloch dealt with Adolf Hitler and 2001's Taurus dealt with Lenin, The Sun takes on Emperor Hirohito (Issei Ogata) during his August 1954 meetings with General Douglas MacArthur. Under any other director, a film like this would be a political thriller with crisp tension and lots of shouting about pride. Sokurov isn't interested in that stuff, thank God. Instead, Sokurov uses his entrancing, methodical style to search inside the Emperor and look at the character in relation to his use of power and the stress it puts on him. His meetings with General MacArthur (Robert Dawson) are straight-laced and hushed, like two lovers lying in bed in the dead of winter. Even when Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor come up, it's a solemn and sacred speech that they don't want to soil with such emotions as anger and resentment.

Continue reading: The Sun Review

The Sun Review


Excellent
How do you like your tyrant? You have so many choices these days that it's hard to figure out what's best. Take Hitler for example. If you want him stone cold and terrifying, go for Oliver Hirchbiegal's Downfall, in which Bruno Ganz gave one of the most intense performances of the year as the Fuhrer. Want it weak and sorta awkward? Noah Taylor's turn as Adolf in Menno Meyjes' halfhearted Max should be your ticket. But for outright strangeness and surrealism, you've got to stand and marvel at Aleksandr Sokurov's Moloch, about a day in the life of Hitler with his mistress, Eva Braun, and some other close friends. It's not any easy watch by any stretch of the imagination, which explains why most of his films don't get U.S. distribution: One has to track down these films in DVD or at film festivals. Don't expect his latest, The Sun, to be any sort of exception.

While Moloch dealt with Adolf Hitler and 2001's Taurus dealt with Lenin, The Sun takes on Emperor Hirohito (Issei Ogata) during his August 1954 meetings with General Douglas MacArthur. Under any other director, a film like this would be a political thriller with crisp tension and lots of shouting about pride. Sokurov isn't interested in that stuff, thank God. Instead, Sokurov uses his entrancing, methodical style to search inside the Emperor and look at the character in relation to his use of power and the stress it puts on him. His meetings with General MacArthur (Robert Dawson) are straight-laced and hushed, like two lovers lying in bed in the dead of winter. Even when Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor come up, it's a solemn and sacred speech that they don't want to soil with such emotions as anger and resentment.

Continue reading: The Sun Review

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