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Dersu Uzala Reviews

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April 14, 2014
Another masterpiece by Akira Kurosawa.
December 30, 2013
Siberia has never looked more beautiful or more dangerous than in this film. The basic premise of the film is that Russian expedition to Siberia is aided by a hunter who knows the area better than the Russians. So far so good. The film is pretty neatly divided into two halves: The first expedition they have with the hunter, and a second one years later.

The first half of the film is stunning. The wilderness shots look insanely good and Kurosawa definitely knows how to capture a sunset. In fact, one of the most beautiful shots in the film has the hunter explaining to a Russian soldier how important both the sun and the moon are.

However, it's the second half where the problems begin to start. The first expedition ends and it feels like this is where the movie should end, too. This is not the case. The second half is just less interesting than the first. It goes on for far too long and it takes its toll on a viewing audience. A subplot of how the hunter can't adjust to city life is fine and all, but it's just done in a rather dull way here.

There is quite a bit to admire, mostly the scenery, but the fact that the second half is weaker than the first really does harm the film.
August 4, 2012
Let me break this down for you. Everyone in this film, and I mean everyone, has a beard. And I'm not talking about just any beards, I'm talking about sleep-in-a-cave, fashion-a-dagger-out-of-a-stick, mistaken-for-bigfoot, Grizzly-freaking-Adams type beards here. So just think about that.
July 28, 2013
The only movie Kurosawa made outside Japan ("Dersu Uzala" was shot in the U.S.S.R.), this is something of an oddball in the director's catalog. The 1975 Oscar winner for best foreign language film is a lovable story that will please anyone who gives it the time.
July 16, 2013
emocionante, gran película...
June 21, 2013
Best things - Dersu's intro, his first couple of trivia, when captain and Dersu meet again, also the first goodbye, they way they have shot sun.

Worst things - pace is slow, doesn't build up. End sort of unresolved.
May 23, 2013
This is one world-class piece of work desperately in the waiting line for a BluRay revamp, watched this Kurosawa's Soviet Union film in DVD format, the quality is discouraging, but the film speaks for itself in shedding bells and whistles and homing in on a camaraderie between a Soviet military explorer and a seasoned local hunter among the bleak Ussuri inhospitable region.

Storyline-aside, it is another Kurosawa's awesome visual spectacle, a tremendous field shooting endeavor, epitomizes by the sun-moon co-existence with solemn placidness, furthermore, it is a hymn to mother nature, Dersu personifies as the harmonious co-habitant of the mighty wilderness, a sublime soul with well-versed survival skills, on the contrary to my recent watched documentary TOUCHING THE VOID (2003, 8/10), DERSU UZALA owns a purer and more admirable prospect, instead of conquering the insurmountable to chase a spur of glory and invincibility, it is far more intrepid and unpretentious to be a part of it with reverence and be respectful to its law and act, in addition to its indefatigable undertone against industrialized modernism (it is the brand-new rifle, a token of friendship, actually wreaks the somber demise of Dersu).

Strictly speaking, there is merely two characters in the film, Dersu (Munzuk) and the Russian Captain (Solomin), a bond is tenably formed through their expedition in the wild, from lush jungle to walking-on-the-thin-ice frozen river, the life-saving bravado during a squalling night when they lost their track on a snow land or a torrent peril, Kurosawa moulds a great range of topography with taut excitement where it is required. The character study of Dersu also is been executed through the observation and the interaction from Captain (viewers' proxy), who is enthralled by Dersu's simple yet ethereal nature, a rare bird may or may not be extinct now. The dual-acting from Munzuk and Solomin is the fruit of naturalistic emancipation and unassuming engagement.

Also a memorable presence is Isaak Shvarts's accompanying score segues from lithe to menacing, eerie to sonorous, with Russian folklore and shanty as well.

Being a Chinese, I cannot avoid mentioning the sensitive timing (after China and Japan's rapprochement in 1972 and China and Soviet Union's dispute in 1969) of the film-making, which prompted an accusation from Chinese government concerns a so-called political libel on Chinese people, mainly by vilifying Hunhutsi (which literally means red beard in Mandarin) as the villain and the nature-balance defier. But honestly, this episode is largely overstated since there is no direct confrontation at all in the film, at least for my compatriots, don't let this smokescreen blinds your eyes, DERSU UZALA is a spirited ethnological oeuvre could inspire whoever has a chance to watch it, preferably on a big screen or at least a BluRay edition.
March 3, 2010
The character Dersu Uzala is very nice. A pretty message about friendship and nature. I liked specially one shot with a brilliant sun in a black sky. However, it did not convince me very much (too much slow pace for me; main character and intentions is bigger than movie itself). Between 2 and 2.5.
January 29, 2013
Though the film is classy and adventurous, it is too full of cliches and easy philosophy to be even considered among Kurosawa's most interesting works.
November 2, 2012
i watched this years ago and it was great movie
August 23, 2012
A study in humanity. The scene collecting the grass is awakening.
August 5, 2012
This is Kurosawa's first film after his attempted suicide. A project that he had on the back burner for decades, he finally got to make it as a Russian/Japanese co-production. The results are mixed in my opinion, but it gave Kurosawa a much needed boost that allowed him to go on to make a final few masterpieces in the twilight of his career.

There isn't much of a plot. Really only vignettes of this man born and raised in the wilderness guiding Russian surveyors in the wilderness and how his view of life differs from his companions. For 2.5 hours, a philosophical back and forth isn't all that compelling (had to finish this in two sittings). The tragic end of the story picks up a lot more though and gives a suitably reverent and appropriate closing to the story.

Although this was filmed in 70mm and Kurosawa's second color picture, the transfer on the DVD is terrible and doesn't do the sweeping landscapes and forests any justice. This needs a blu-ray transfer badly, but I doubt it will get one even though Kurosawa won an Oscar for it.

It's not a feature that gets mentioned very often in Kurosawa's oeuvre and honestly...I can see why. Not that it's bad, just nowhere near as compelling as his other films. Probably only recommended to Kurosawa completists.
July 31, 2012
I watched this movie when I was 7 years old, still remember it. Great movie!
July 10, 2012



January 3, 2012
I decided to watch this film because Kurosawa was Japan's best director. I don't think any other Japanese director has come close. This film is simple yet interesting. I would like to see a modern remake of this movie.
June 17, 2007
An epic tale on the story of man and mother nature. Kurosawa's Russian journey through the wilderness of friendship and old age. It's filmed with an ancient visual palette and at times it feels as if it's in real time. Very slow-paced but endlessly rewarding. By the end, you feel as if you've been in the wilderness. Most refreshing is how Kurosawa resists close-ups. Everything is matter-of-fact and neutral (just like in nature). There is no sentimentality yet the film is very touching. The scenes of intensity are gripping and extremely realistic and believable. The film is steeped in authenticity and it's not without its humor. It's fitting that Kurosawa made this unique film considering his most inspirational authors were all Russian.
April 7, 2011
The chance-meeting between two people, their friendship and relations, unexpected encounters and farewells make for the story-line. Its main theme is Man and Nature, the loving care of Man towards nature which is necessary to both sides. Another Kurosawa master-piece, where each frame is carefully composed to form a dramatic picture.
April 8, 2011
Recently watched and amazed how well it's holding up. A little slow, but very cinematic and all the Kurosawa "goods" -- angles, composition,cutting-- still there in a living color.
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