Russian director defends "Burnt by the Sun" sequel

Sat May 22, 2010 8:52am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov Saturday defended his new movie "Burned by the Sun 2," which performed poorly at the domestic box office and was criticized by war veterans for historical inaccuracies.

His follow-up to the 1994 Oscar-winning drama "Burned by the Sun" resurrects the original characters as, five years later, they face advancing German forces in 1941.

Colonel Kotov, played by Mikhalkov and who viewers presumed to have died at the end of the original when he is driven away by Soviet agents, has survived Stalin's purge.

Convinced his beloved daughter Nadia is dead, he decides to fight on the front where he and his poorly equipped comrades suffer heavy losses.

Nadia, meanwhile, is sure Kotov is still alive, and as she witnesses death all around her comes to realize that she is living solely in order to see her father once more.

The movie premieres at the Cannes film festival later on Saturday, and is the last of 19 movies in the main competition lineup to screen to the media.

At a news conference, reporters asked Mikhalkov about veterans' criticism of the film's accuracy.

"We studied lots of archives and chronicles of the time," he said, speaking through an interpreter. "On the other hand we didn't do this ... to make a cut-and-paste version in the film.   Continued...