Ddicated to "all those who were burnt by the betraying sun of the revolution", this masterful display of bravura filmmaking by director Nikita Mikhaikov (Close to Eden, Slave of Love, Oblomov) is a tale of tragic grandeur told through the delicate palette of a single summer's day in 1936.
Red Army commander Serguei Kotov's idyllic country existence with radiant wife Maroussia and precocious child Nadia (Mikhalkov and his six year old play father and daughter) seems a world away from the ever growing purges and Gulags of Stalin's Russia. Yet into this pastoral paradise of love and laughter comes Dimitri— former suitor of Maroussia's, now an officer of the political police-casting a shadow from the past across the family's increasingly unforeseeable future. As thunderclouds obscure the skies of the dacha, the all-pervasive atmosphere of dreamy Chekhovian languor is slowly devoured by violent and powerful historical forces
Mikhaikov's first post-Soviet-era film to grapple with his country's political legacy, Burnt By the Sun deservedly shared the 1994 Cannes Grand jury Prize with Zhang Yimou's To Live, another (very different) film drawing on the lives and dreams of those caught up in tumultuous and terrifying times.