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November 15, 2009

[NYTimes] For sheer eccentric ambition there is perhaps nothing in Mr. Sokurov’s filmography that matches his “Men of Power” series. These are, to say the least, idiosyncratic biographies — of Hitler (“Moloch,” 1999), Lenin (“Taurus,” 2001) and Japan’s wartime emperor, Hirohito (“The Sun,” 2005) — that concern themselves less with the defining actions of 20th-century dictators than with their shadowy inner lives.

Mr. Sokurov has said that he is less interested in his subjects as mythic tyrants than as figures confronting personal tragedies. Confined to narrow time frames and a handful of physical locations, the films focus on moments of transition, not necessarily comprehensible to the men undergoing them. The intimate settings and the relative lack of a wider political context point up Mr. Sokurov’s conviction that, as he once put it, “human qualities are higher than any historical situation.” (read)

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