Dersu Uzala [DVD]
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The legendary Akira Kuraosawa s Oscar-winning classic his only film produced 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 encounters the nomadic Goldi tribesman Dersu Uzala, who agrees to lead the en 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. Kurosawa s remarkable and visually stunning humanist epic bears the unmistakable hallmarks of the great filmmaking master.
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Intriguing departure from Kurosawa's usual themes and cinematographic stylePublished 3 months ago by Aleksander Kuczynski
A wonderful film but sadly the last 20 minutes or so were broken up. I had to pause and re start several times. This spoiled the final scenes. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Russo-Mongolian-Japanese coproduction and untypical of Kurosawa, not set in Japan and with no great battles. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Owen MO
I really loved 'Dersu Uzala'. It's yet another winner from Akira Kurosawa. I really go for this guy's movies!Published 15 months ago by gallmica18
The 'march of progress’ is a theme that was not exactly new to Akira Kurosawa – a number of his 'Samurai films’ touch on the increasingly archaic image being attributed to... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Keith M
wonderfull movie. Videoquality was "OK".
glad i decided to get this old OOP DVD afterall. its far from "decent" but its watchable even on a big screen.
Beautiful film with a great story of friendship and belonging. Sad ending and lots of interest if you are a bushcrafter.Published 22 months ago by bushcraftrelf
Amazon is not the place for an IMDB-type film review, so I'll stick to reviewing the product, and say that the Artificial Eye release is by far the best quality remastering of this... Read morePublished on 28 Jun. 2014 by John Smith
I remembered seeing this fim in the cinema more than 30 years ago and thoroughly enjoying it as a teenager so I was delighted to find it on DVD. Read morePublished on 1 Jun. 2014 by Dominique Byrne