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Audience Response to the Nature/Society Binary in Kurosawa's Dersu Uzala: An Observational Onli

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    Vili Maunula

    I haven’t really had the time to read this, but based on the Abstract and the Conclusion, anyone interested in Dersu Uzala might want to take a look at a new MA thesis by Laura L. Sharp uploaded to University of Kentucky’s web servers. It’s titled Audience Response to the Nature/Society Binary in Kurosawa’s Dersu Uzala: An Observational Online Ethnography, was submitted earlier this year, and can be downloaded as a pdf file.

    Here is the abstract:

    Geographers researching cinema have predominantly been interested in how geographic meaning is constructed and negotiated within film, but have been less productive in accounting for how these constructs are received by viewers. Using the method of observational online ethnography, I therefore investigate how fans in online reviews have interpreted the nature/society binary in the film Dersu Uzala. Working from a social constructionist view of nature I begin by deconstructing the binary as it appears in Dersu Uzala before proceeding to illustrate the way this constitutive absence is made up for by the visuality of the film’s landscapes and techniques of geographic realism. Turning to the fan reviews I find that, rather than challenge the historical and constructed division between nature and society, many fans accept the binary as inevitable and consistent with their ideas about contemporary reality. More than passive consumption however, this concurrence is actively rearticulated in the ways that the fans incorporate the binary into their own lives and in the new discursive practices of the internet. In so doing I make headway into the exploration of audience analysis by geographers and continue to advance geography’s foray into cultures of the internet.

    Dersu Uzala will be our film club title exactly a year from now, in July 2014.

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    Ugetsu

    Interesting – I studied geography for my primary degree and I loved it and considered for a while doing a post grad in it, but unfortunately it never occurred to me I could use it as an excuse to watch films! I have to confess though that I can barely understand what the abstract means.

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