Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dersu Izala, Kurasawa


It's hard to believe the treasure I've unlocked by becoming involved with the community college and it's continuing ed. I've know for well over a year that there is a free Tuesday afternoon film series. Today was the first time I attended a showing. The film was Kurasawa's 1975 collaboration with Russia filmmakers, Dersu Izula. Set in far eastern Siberia in 1902-07 Based, I read, on an actual native hunter, Dersu who acted as a guide for a group of Russians soldiers mapping a part of Siberia. I've been reading about Siberia for a long time and was eager to see a film shot there. I was not disappointed.

This is a 140 minute film in which nothing happens except that we see man and nature and a man who lives in harmony with nature who teaches those much more literate than he survival in wilderness, against the elements. Dersu was played by a Chinese actor perfectly, the Russian Captain was also a stereotype. Nothing mattered really except the setting, the elements and Dersu's harmony and simplicity. The photography was magnificent. I heard people complain that it was "long" as they left -- Siberia is bigger than merely "long" -- eight time zones! A movie that cannot be forgotten, not because of story but because of simplicity. I never saw the Kurasawa epics, somehow I just didn't get to the showings. What a wonderful introduction!

2 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- ohhh... I love films like this. So glad that you reviewed it. I am going to look for it on Netflix. I really don't know much about Siberia -- maybe it is time I looked into the greatness of the region. -- barbara

June Calender said...

Barbara, Siberia and its people have suffered a great deal both under Communism and now post-perastrokia. I've long been fascinated especially with the reindeer people [nomads] and the last remaining tigers in the far, far East of Russia.