Monday, November 24, 2014

Dersu Uzala - Movie Review

Dersu Uzala is a remarkable man. Not many hunters who live in the wild become the subject of a book and then, two movies. One directed by Akira Kurosawa. The book was written in 1923. The first movie was made in 1961. And Kurosawa's was made in 1975.

Dersu Uzala is a hunter who lives in the wild. He meets the narrator and writer of the original travelogue Vladimir Arsenyev, when he is surveying the Russian Far Eastern parts along with a team. The hunter who appears to be wild and eccentric soon displays his great compassion for life, his wisdom, his courage and love. In many incidents that follow, Dersu shows how we must respect nature, all forms of life, how he puts his own life in danger while saving the author and his team members. The way he repairs a travelers hut and leaves supplies in case they need it, the way he talks to nature, animals, the way he is so at peace with his surroundings in the forest mark him as a man who is very different. His friendship with the author and with all life, including the Sun and the Moon, reflects the great love he has.

The movie has all the ingredients I look for in great movies. I put it on sometime after 11 pm and was drawn by the first scene when the narrator is seen looking for the grave of an old friend. But the grave is now gone because a new settlement has come up. I promised myself 10 minutes, 15 at the most. And I saw the entire movie, almost two hours, most without subtitles too. That's great story telling for me. Can't forget the characters, story moves organically and its all so authentic.

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