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Dersu Uzala [1975] [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Yuri Solomin, Maxim Munzuk
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Format: PAL, Widescreen
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Feb 2007
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LE0TVA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,688 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Kurosawa's remarkable film, his only produced and financed outside of Japan, is an extraordinary tale of friendship and survival, based on the memoirs of Russian explorer Vladimir Arseniev. In the harsh environs of the Siberian frontier, an expedition led by Arseniev encounter the nomadic Goldi tribesman Dersu Uzala, who agrees to guide the men through the vast uncharted wilderness. Although initially considered by the group as little more than a savage, Dersu's skill, courage and spiritual wisdom soon earn their respect and admiration, as well as instilling in them a new-found compassion for the natural world. Bearing all the unmistakable hallmarks of the great cinema master, Kurosawa's Oscar-winning classic is a visually stunning humanist epic.

From Amazon.co.uk

During an unusual chapter in the career of director Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon), the filmmaker went to Russia because he found working in his native Japan to be too difficult. The result was this striking 1975 near-epic based on the turn-of-the-century autobiographical novels of a military explorer (Yuri Solomin) who met and befriended a Goldi man in Russia's unmapped forests. Kurosawa traces the evolution of a deep and abiding bond between the two men, one civilised in the usual sense, the other at home in the sub-zero Siberian woods. There's no question that Dersu Uzala (the film is named for the Goldi character, played by Maxim Munzuk) has the muscular, imaginative look of a large-canvas Soviet Mosfilm from the 1970s. But in its energy and insight it is absolutely Kurosawa, from its implicit fascination with the meeting of opposite worlds to certain moments of tranquillity and visual splendour. But nothing looks like Kurosawa more than a magnificent action sequence in which the co-heroes fight against time and exhaustion to stay alive in a wicked snowstorm. For fans of the late legend, this is a Kurosawa not to be missed. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Sep 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As a devoted fan I feel obliged to give this film another deserving positive review. Some years ago I watched this film with my Father one Christmas and we were mesmerised. One of the few times we sat down to watch a film together, when everyone else had gone to bed. It was a shared experience that hushed us with its astonishing beauty. It does not have a complex plot. You simply sit back and enjoy the great Russian Taiga in all its weathers. Some of the cinematography is simply breathtaking. Visually this has to be the most beautiful film I have ever watched.

The film is one of Kurosawa's less well known works. It is very different to "The Seven Samurai" and "Ikiru", great films in their own right. A collaboration between Russia and Japan. Based on the enchanting true story "Dersu the Trapper", by the Russian cartographer V K Arseniev. Kurosawa and his crew filmed on location in Russia's Issuri region to bring this film home. Conditions at times were of Arctic ferocity as the crew battled against the elements. The results were worth it. Scene after sumptuous scene. The scene where Arseniev and Dersu race against time to build a shelter before the onset of night on frozen Lake Hanka is particularly memorable. There is also one astonishingly beautiful scene where the men are seen man hauling a sled over a frozen landscape into the burning embers of an emormous deep orange sunset.

The films story is simple enough. It concerns a friendship that develops between Arseniev who maps the pristine Taiga region of Russia in the early 1900s, and Dersu Uzala his local native Goldi guide. They are both good hearted men of principle. Dersu is selfless and puts others before himself. His kindness is repaid by good hearted Arseniev who takes Dersu into his own home when he ails.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Morten Duckert Rasted on 11 July 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw the original film in the cinema ages ago with my father. Back then, it lasted almost 4 hours. I was just a kid at that time, but I will never forget that first meeting with Dersu. Some years later I recorded the film on Betamax from Swedish Television (I'm Danish and I can understand swedish without problems). But that tape was destroyed when the basement flooded after a heavy rain. So you can understand my excitement when I found out that I could get a DVD copy of Dersu Uzala from Amazon. I think it is the best film I have ever seen. I could hardly wait to unpack it when I received it. It was just like meeting a dear old friend again! But I'm rather disappointed with the quality of the DVD copy: It's just like a copy of a copy of a copy. And it spands two DVD's, that should not be necessary. That's why I didn't gave it 5 stars.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Feb 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This Kurosawa film is usually ignored by most viewers because it was made outside the realm of Japanese cinema. It was made in the Soviet Union, however, both the subject and the production of the film are pure Kurosawa creations. It deals with the relationship between a native Siberian hunter and a group of Soviet explorers. Kurosawa yet again showcases his talent by presenting us with a poignant, poetic tale of contrasting cultures in the harsh Siberian environment. This beautiful tale is further complemented by its breathtaking cinematography [this film must be viewed in widescreen]. It also won the Best Foreign Film Oscar. A great film for everyone.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By 72trails of smoke on 9 Aug 2007
Format: DVD
while it is pleasing that this has finally been released on region 2 it has to be noted that the print/trasfer is quite poor with grainy, murky colouring on what looks like a ntsc-to-pal conversion clearly taking away much of the impact of a film most noted for its visual beauty. Nevertheless, a remarkable film.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a MAGNIFICENT film, a real monument of world cinema and I loved every minute of it! Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

1. The real story

In the beginning, there was a book, "Dersu Uzala", written by Russian explorer Vladimir Arsenyev (1872-1930). Arsenyev was an officer in Russian army under Tsar regime and in this quality he led numerous military expeditions across Eastern Siberia, mostly drawing maps and marking land for roads. His soldiers also occasionally clashed with "honghuzi" bandits (mostly Chinese), who roamed Eastern Siberian wilderness robbing native hunters and enslaving the women, who were later sold to brothels in China.

During his journeys across Ussuri basin between 1902 and 1907 Arseniev befriended a Nanai hunter named Dersu Uzala. The Nanai are an indigenous East Siberian nation, also known as Goldi, Hezhen or Samagir, who in times of Arsenyev were hunters, trappers and fishermen, but also frequently served as greatly appreciated scouts for the army. In our time around 13 000 live in Russian Siberia and 4500 in Chinese Manchuria.

Dersu Uzala was not a young man any more (he was probably almost 60 when he met Arsenyev) but he was still a great hunter, an excellent marksman and a greatly respected tracker. At one occasion he saved Arsenyev's life and with time they became close friends. In the book he published in 1923, already in Soviet times, Arsenyev described adventures and conversations they had during their travels through Siberian wilderness as well as period during which Dersu Uzala lived as his guest in his house in Khabarovsk.

Real Dersu Uzala died in 1908 and Arsenyev died in 1930.
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