In pre-revolutionary Siberia a team of Russian army surveyors cross paths with Dersu Uzala, an affable tribesman who decides to tag along, teaching them the practical ways of his people in the process and saving the commanding officer’s life more than once. A few years later the commander returns to the taiga and meets up with Dersu, now an old man with poor eyesight, and decides to bring him home. But the grizzled aboriginal is not prepared for the confusing world of 1910 Russian society and so makes a decision which will impact both his life and that of his old friend. Actually penned and directed by Japanese legend Akira Kurosawa, this ham-fisted and all-too-predictable “meeting of cultures” film tries in vain to pair the noble savage with his city-dwelling counterpart and fails on virtually every level. Like a retro Soviet propaganda film without the overt political grandstanding, Kurosawa combines gloriously overdone cinematography (the Kremlin must have loved those blazing red sunsets) with manufactured pathos and a script littered with colourful native aphorisms and then expects us to nod sagely as we compare the wise old ways with silly modern contrivances. Not sure how this earned its Best Foreign Film Oscar…was it a sympathy nod to Kurosawa whose own career was flailing at the time? Or was Hollywood just blowing kisses at Moscow?
A Kuroarwa gem !! Beautiful and epic. Sometimes slowish,.. but totally worth it .
Great Kurosawa movie. Very moving.
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