In today's issue of The Guardian, JG Ballard "reads" The Sun, a new film by Russian director Alexander Sokurov. Set in 1945 just after the Japanese surrender, The Sun is a character study of Emperor Hirohito. It's the third in Sokurov's tetralogy, following films about Hitler and Lenin. Ballard's take is as much a personal reflection on the moment in history as a "review" of the film. (Ballard's book Empire of the Sun, and the movie based on it, depicts his childhood in an internment camp.) Previous posts about Ballard here, here, and here. In The Guardian, Ballard writes:
During the years of internment I saw a great many adults weakened by hunger and malaria, gradually losing hope that the war would ever end. Parents in the camp were unable to feed their children, protect them or even keep them warm. Lunghua was in effect an enormous slum, and as in any slum the teenage boys ran wild. Though I was not aware of it, all this probably led to the estrangement between my parents and myself that lasted all my life.
At the same time, I would never have become a hyperactive adolescent, impatient with English life, who in middle age began to wonder if his whole life had been a strange and avoidable accident, prompted by a misguided British prime minister and a Japanese emperor who was unable to restrain his generals but believed that he was a god.
The Sun brilliantly sums up all the dilemmas that surround war and peace.