i don’t even bother screening kurosawa films before i buy them…despite running the risk of wasting 20-30 bucks for the criterion collection dvds. i know kurosawa will deliver, so when i see a new kurosawa dvd i snatch it up. here, again, kurosawa renewed my faith in him (and in humanity). kurosawa does an excellent job of showing great individuals teaching or helping those in need. from seven samurai to dersu uzala that theme is carried. dersu’s character is fantastically rounded and well acted (though i don’t know how much acting there actually was). the relationship between dersu and arseniev is so instantly established…and that doesn’t come from the opening scene wherein arseniev returns to the burial site of dersu three years after the fact, thus signaling the depth of their friendship. no, it comes from their first meeting and every interaction thereafter. it’s not something i can necessarily describe, but it is there. sure their physical position within the frame, relative to the rest of arseniev’s expedition, is close (often times dersu and captain arseniev are on one side of the frame and the others are on the other), but it goes much deeper than that. a good story (though not much of a plot) and a great study of man and nature.