Friday, May 9, 2014

273 of 1001 Movies: Dersu Uzala (1975)

 Now I can see the appeal of this movie that is based on the works of a Russian man who met a man, Dersu Uzala, and wrote about the time he spent with him. For me this wasn't the most interesting of movies to watch though, but for men they may like the whole explorer and friendship aspect. I felt there were a lot of opportunities to explore the history of the time, and a lot else, but instead it's limited to a whole bunch of interactions. It's a movie filled with dialogue.

Summary: Arsenev is a Russian explorer who is sent into the wilderness with his team into Siberia on an expedition. When he gets there though he finds that it's more than he can really handle, but when he meets a local hunter, Dersu Uzala, he begins to learn survival skills that will help them survive and complete their expedition. They depart only to meet again years in the future, but since Dersu Uzala has aged so has the map of the world and what he is able to help with.

Acting: The acting is good. Everyone fits their part and since I haven't seen them in anything else but this movie I will have no problem putting them as the face of their characters. The thing is I also didn't find anyone particularly interesting either though. Then again I do have a preference for acting that is much more emotional, and well usually certain countries are less emotional in their presentations, and this movie is from one of the countries that is like that. It just left me feeling a bit disconnected from the whole movie.

Filming: I spent most of the move debating the ridiculous. Is the set real or not? That was my huge hang up the entire time. While everything looked real and was pretty elaborate if it was a set, there was also something about the lighting that seemed artificial so it kept throwing me off. I would have been so much more in awe had I felt the surroundings were real, and not a studio, or at least debating whether it was a studio.

Plot: While I wasn't very excited to be watching this the movie does at least present some lessons to be learned and had from it's characters. Particularly, Dersus Uzala being the one to teach. The explorer learns some things that even an audience nowadays can take away with them. The most memorable point being how the team stayed over night at a hut, and shared in the supplies there but learned to replenish before leaving so the next person would have a comfortable time staying there. In general the lessons make it a valid movie, and I'm sure the book has even more points to be made.

Dersu Uzala has an audience that really enjoys it, and I can understand why. The lead character is someone inspirational in a way how he handles his life, and since it's based on real stories it furthers the curiosity about the happenings. I couldn't find myself too excited to be watching this long spanning man friendship though even if it good in the themes it had.

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