Thursday, February 4, 2010

O Capitan, My Capitan!: Dersu Uzala

Dersu Uzala (1975) - Kurosawa

I'll keep it short. Dersu Uzala is a tender story of budding friendship btwn a captain of military land surveyor team and a Goldi hunter with the stunning Siberian forests as a backdrop. It's also about changing times and somber observation of disappearing way of life. Even though settings and actors are foreign, you can tell right away it's a Kurosawa film- the mastery of exterior shots and movements are unmistakable AK. It's much more personable Dances with Wolves/Kaspar Hauser for grown-ups. It's mature, guileless, direct and teeming with mutual respect. AK fan or not, one can't deny that he is a master storyteller. There is a real feeling of joy seeing the cheerful reunion of Dersu and his capitan. I really loved this film.

The show at Film Forum was sold out even though it was a weeknight. A lot of AK love going on here in NY. Even though the 35mm film print was scratched and discolored, I was glad to see it on the big screen with my good friend Ben.

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