Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Movie a Day, day 69: Dersu Uzala

Emerging from deep inside a noisy restaurant last night, where we’d had dinner with friends, my husband and I skirted a huge curbside puddle and realized we must have missed a big rain. Turns out a fierce thunderstorm dumped inches of rain on the city and nearly killed a man in Brooklyn (he was struck by lightning). So I was primed to appreciate Dersu’s quiet critique of the artificiality of city life (“How can men sit in box?”) when I got home and popped in the DVD of Dersu Uzala that I’d started watching the day before.

I first saw this movie years ago, in a class on Slavic film that I took as an undergrad. I remembered star Maksim Munzuk’s kind, weathered face and the feral beauty of Dersu's homeland, a stretch of forest in Russia’s far east. I also remembered liking it, but I’d forgotten more than I remembered about this late-life Akira Kurosawa character study. I guess I just wasn’t ready to appreciate it then, since it’s hard to imagine forgetting it now. Read the rest on The House Next Door, Slant Magazine's blog.

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