Dersu Uzala is now open for discussion

Our June 2007 film selection, Dersu Uzala, is now open for discussion. Members who would like to Post an Official Commentary here are welcome to do so (Contact Ron or Roger if you would like to have posting priveleges to this blogsite). Anyone, member or not, can place brief comments here by simply clicking on the comments button.


One thought on “Dersu Uzala is now open for discussion

  1. DERSU UZALA (1975) stands proudly alone in the vast Akira Kurosawa canon of cinema. It is his only film in Russian, and it is filmed with his unique Asian perspective, giving the character of Dersu much more depth than a Soviet director would have managed. This film saved Kurosawa’s career, and possibly his life. His attempted suicide after the critical failure of his feature, DODES’ KA-DEN (1970), made him a pariah. He struggled for years before he finally went to Russia’s Far East to film. Even considering the Oscar DERSU UZALA won, it took him several more years to finance and mount KAGEMUSHA (1980). Thank the cinema gods then he was able to go on and direct great films like RAN (1985), and DREAMS (1990).

    Cinematographer, Asakazu Nakai, his long-time collaborator on films like STRAY DOG (1949), IKIRU (1952), THE SEVEN SAMURAI (1954), THRONE OF BLOOD (1957), and RED BEARD in (1965), accompanied him to Russia to work with Soviet cinematographers Fyodor Dobronravov and Yuri Gantman. The photography in DERSU UZALA gave it its authenticity, its grandeur and scope, filling the screen with the taiga and tundra, vast jungle-like forests, and frozen wastelands.

    Maksim Munzuk was the embodiement of Dersu, short, powerful, wise in the ways of the wilderness, yet naive, superstitious, and nearly illiterate. He was man constantly on the move, trapping, hunting, fishing –a man without a home, being “at home” wherever he found himself when night fell –a man without a family as smallpox had robbed him of his wife and children. His tribe, the Goldi, were nearly extinct from disease and interbreeding. As he neared the end of his days, so did much of his world. Civilization chewed up Nature like a paper shredder. Much of the taiga today is held in nature reserves and parks. This marvelous film reasonates with me like a cross between THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS and BRAVE NEW WORLD.

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