Oscar Movies: Burnt By the Sun

Released in the US by Sony Picture Classics.

Cannes Film Festival 1994(Competition)–Burnt By the Sun, the new film by the acclaimed Russian director Nikita Mikhlakov, is set in the Soviet Union circa 1936, just before the notorious Stalinist purges.

The film played in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize along with Zhang Yimou's melodrama “To Live” (It was a tie). Burnt by the Sun (a great, accurate title, since the screen is flood with bright sun) won the Oscar Award for Best Foreign-Language Film in a year in which the competition was rather tough. The other nominees were: Before the Sun (from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Eat Drink Man Woman (by American-based Ang Lee from Taiwan), Farinelli: Il Castrato (from Belgium), and Strawberry and Chocolate (from Cuba).

Mikhalkov and his young daughter also star in the film, which many critics saw as an elegy to the old Russia, with a Chekhovian touch of poetic realism.

Mikhalkov, who's the younger brother of director Konchalovsky, carried his daughter on his shoulder when he marched to the podium to accept the Oscar.)