ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Burnt by the Sun, Russian Movie with International Awards

Updated on April 18, 2010

Since we left Soviet Union I don’t follow really close cultural news from there. I prefer to embrace the culture of a country I live in, as it helps tremendously with learning of a new language and also with physical and mental accommodating in a new place.

Still, some movies and songs from my old Motherland get to my attention and I even buy them on line to watch sometimes. 

Burnt by the Sun, DVD
Burnt by the Sun, DVD
Nadia (played by Mikhalkov’s young daughter Nadia). This image filled the movie with warmth and special meaning.
Nadia (played by Mikhalkov’s young daughter Nadia). This image filled the movie with warmth and special meaning.
Kotov and his young wife Maroussia
Kotov and his young wife Maroussia
Maroussia and Mitya
Maroussia and Mitya
Mikhalkov carries his daughter Nadia and Oskar award
Mikhalkov carries his daughter Nadia and Oskar award

Not a new movie

The movie I am going to review here is not a new movie, it is Burnt by the Sun (Russian: Утомлённые солнцем, Utomlyonnye solntsem), a 1994 film by Russian director and actor Nikita Mikhalkov. The film received the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, among many other honors.

The first scene of the movie might seem strange as you understand it only at the end of the movie. I don’t want to open the cards right here, as every watcher should comprehend a movie on his own. I’ll just say that the first scene gives an uncomfortable feeling of a threatening of some kind, though you are not able to explain it yet. The whole movie is an alternation of idle if not idealistic scenes with unexplainable tense arousing moments, like Soviet tanks going through a wheat field, or a ball lightning going unnoticed through the house...

The setting opens in 1936, just before Joseph Stalin's Great Purge. Sergei Kotov (Nikita Mikhalkov), an idealistic communist and honored hero of the Russian Sivil War, is enjoying his day off in his wife’s family’s country cabin, or rather a pretty big summer house, “dacha”. His wife Maroussia (Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė), their daughter Nadia, and Maroussia's large and eccentric family of intelligent ex-nobles are shown very descriptively.

Into this idyllic day comes Mitya (Oleg Menshikov), a former family friend who was Maroussia's lover before his sudden disappearance. The family is rejoicing at his visit and a lazy, serene and happy summer day is moving on. However, soon we understand that despite his humorous, friendly nature Mitya has come to this house with a secret agenda. Mitya now works for the Secret Police, or NKVD, and has an order to arrest General Kotov under false charges of spying for the German and Japanese governments.

This is revenge to some extent, as the reason why he left Maroussia was that Kotov forcibly recruited him into the NKVD many years ago. Mitya was then sent to Paris to spy on Russian emigrants. As a result, Mitya hates Kotov, whom he blames for taking away both Maroussia and his own faith in God. Kotov, however, views Mitya as "a whore" who was "bought and paid for" by the Soviet State. He is certain that Mitya's plans to arrest him are nothing more than a personal vendetta. Because of his enormous popularity and his close relationship with Stalin, Kotov is sure that the regime will never dare to touch him.

However, a black car filled with NKVD agents arrives to arrest him. Nevertheless, Kotov's cool, officer's pride remains unshaken. He is still sure that all this is just a mistake and his personal friendship with Stalin will help to clear it.

However, when he tries to leave the car, the NKVD agents beat him. In horror, Kotov realizes where the decision to arrest him must have come from. With his faith in the system shattered, a bloodied Kotov weeps inconsolably. Mitya, who has obviously seen this happen to many men, remains unmoved. The car drives on until a massive poster of Stalin shields it from view.

A postscript reveals that General Sergei Kotov was convicted of espionage and shot. Maroussia was also arrested and died in the GULAG. Both sentences were later overturned during the Khrushchev thaw. Their daughter Nadia is described as having survived and as currently working as a music teacher in Kazakhstan. Mitya - as the last scenes of the movie reveal - committed suicide.

The film was praised and criticized, but no matter what, Burnt by the Sun remains a truthful description of that time, when people did believe with their whole hearts in fair socialism and future communism. People did not realize (with some exceptions that were either keeping themselves silent or were imprisoned), that they were just brainwashed by soviet communist propaganda.

Other Mikhalkov's movies

If you are interested in this period of life in the former USSR, please, order and watch the movie. You will not regret you did it.

Oleg Menshikov's Movies


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)