A Russian army explorer who is rescued in Siberia by a rugged Asian hunter renews his friendship with the woodsman years later when he returns as the head of a larger expedition. The hunter finds that all of his nature lore is of no help when he accompanies the explorer back to civilization.Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
In discussing this film in his autobiography, Kurosawa metaphorically compares film directors to salmon: "When the river he was born in and raised in [i.e., the Japanese film industry] becomes polluted, he can't climb back upstream to lay his eggs - he has trouble making his films... One such salmon, seeing no other way, made a long journey to climb a Soviet river and give birth to some caviar. This is how my 1975 film Dersu Uzala came about. Nor do I think this is such a bad thing. But the most natural thing for a Japanese salmon to do is to lay its eggs in a Japanese river." See more »
In the burial scene, the shadows of the actors make it clear that there is a fake backdrop. See more »
A wonderful film. It showcases the natural beauty of the Taiga and presents a contrast between the technological and the pastoral. Dersu is one with the forest. He knows its ways and its moods. The Russians scoff at his ways and his 'primitive' belief system, but eventually come to rely on him, and even love him. It is a beautiful story that takes place in an world that very few of us in the West have had a chance to see. I thought the fact that the film was set in the pre-revolutionary period gave it a peculiar sort of charm - Russia before the Great War and the Russian Revolution was innocent and even naive, the same way the Russian soldiers were innocent of the wonders and the dangers of the Taiga. One of the things I loved most about this film was the cinematography - there are long, lingering shots of the landscape, the endless steppe, the forest, the rivers, the mountains. We believe ourselves to be powerful because we have been moderately successful in our attempts to harness nature for our own uses, but the film shows us that we are deluding ourselves, that nature cannot be controlled or resisted, and the truly powerful are those, like Dersu, who co-exist in harmony with nature and learn what the wilderness teaches.
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