I was incredibly impressed with the filmmaking process in Dersu Uzala. This must have been incredibly difficult to shoot because of the countless variables, but it works really well. The moment when Dersu saves the Captain in the first part and their reuniting in the second are both really beautiful scenes. It also maintains excellent blocking, which is hard to do given the setting.
They didn't call Kurosawa The Master for nothing. Hard to believe he tried to kill himself and then bounced back and made this gem. Dersu's character stays with you, and the "Captain" turned in a fine performance as well. The cinematography, stark landscape, and deeply moving connection between kindred spirits are perfect. I love that setting sun shot in the icy tundra. My only complaint - a little too long.
A man disciplined by the forest meets a military captain on the frontier. How a simple story of two souls meeting their inimitable other turns into such a tender portrait of everyman's desolation can only be explained by the majesty of Kurosawa's film work and the direction of the landscape itself. Platonic, cold-war era love at its octagonal height. A favorite to say the least.
Love the cinematography, and the use of diegetic music (soldiers singing folk songs) is well-choreographed and moving. Some of music choices - during the last "departure" scene - was a little excessive, so not Kurosawa's best, but an amazingly touching story of friendship in the wild.
The relationship between the two leads is the intended focus here, but I found Kurosawa's long takes and deep vistas ironically leading to a third character, the Siberian Wilderness itself, taking center stage and stealing my sympathies from the other two.