Dersu Uzala… Kurosawa’s Oscar winner.

Based on a Russian explorer’s memoirs of his Far East expedition in the forests around the treacherous river Basin of the Ussuri, this Russian film is directed by Japanese film director, Akira Kurosawa.

In early 1902, Vladimir Arseniev has a chance encounter with Dersu Uzala – a native hunter – one of the few remaining, of the almost extinct Manchurian Nanai tribe (colloquially referred to as Goldi by Russians). Arseniev invites Dersu to join his team as they survey the uncharted territory around the Sino-Soviet border. Dersu, nonchalantly, assumes the role of guide. Along this long, arduous journey emerges a human bonding between him and the Capitaine.

Two years in the making, Dersu Uzala was released in 1975 at the Moscow Film Festival, and over a year later in the US, at the New York Film Festival. The entire depiction of friendship, courage, human understanding, and above all, the harmony with the elements of nature, is a master stroke, though not quite unexpected of Kurosawa!

Last evening, while watching this film I was thoroughly enthralled. In my mind, this will be archived as cinema par excellence, in a class apart.


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