Saturday, July 11, 2009

DERSU UZALA (1975)

Akira's first film after his failed suicide attempt tells the story of a small party of Russian soldiers are out on a peaceful exploration mission in a remote area of Siberia when they meet Dersu Uzala, a gentle mountain man who instantly takes a liking to the Captain and agrees to become their guide. At first, the men find Dersu to be an quirky, superstitious old goat and laugh at him, but soon they start to admire him especially after he saves the Captain's life from certain death in a blizzard. The mission ends and they part ways, but a few years later the Captain, while out with another map making party runs into Dersu again. This time they become inseparable and the new group of soldiers quickly take a liking to him also. They have many adventures, but all things cannot be perfect forever...

This is a slower Kurosawa film, so if you're looking for the action of his more popular samurai films then you're going to be disappointed. That said it is still an entertaining and beautifully shot film. As always Kurosawa knows exactly where to place the camera. The only problem I had and maybe it's just a personal one is I didn't really feel anything for either of the lead characters. They both felt distant and even after 141 minutes I still felt nothing for either one.

A good film, but not even in my Top 10 Favorite Kurosawa Films.  If you're a fan of Kurosawa then of course you have to watch it, but others will probably just find it slow. It really depends on how much you enjoy foreign cinema.