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Akira Kurosawa’s “Dersu Uzala” (1975) – A Monument to An Alternative Civilization

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    Kurosawa Probes into What Might Have Come to Be For All of Us but Never Got a Chance to Realize Itself

    “Dersu Uzala” is dedicated to the director’s depiction of the contours of a hypothetical civilization alternative to the one in which we all live in today. This civilization which Kurosawa imagined, could develop but didn’t because of human pathological greed for power and profit and our mania to manipulate nature, life, other people and the world in general. Dersu with his alternative sensibility based on mutuality with nature represents for Kurosawa the lost child of this alternative civilization which tragically for us all didn’t become a reality. On the level of the plot the film describes a friendship (based on mutual love for nature) between Dersu and a Russian scientist Arseniev who tries to learn from him wisdom of grace and grace of wisdom, the absence of vanity, and also humility vis-à-vis otherness of the world and spontaneous honesty. While destiny of Dersu is tragic – he falls victim of civilized predators (the crooks of excessive calculation of their advantages), the destiny of Arseniev is even more horrifying. Of course, he made a professional career, but as a typical scientist inside a civilization of calculation and domination he cannot control how the results of his scientific research are used by the decision-makers. So, his love for nature becomes pure idealism – by admiring the natural world he unintentionally helps to subdue it. “Dersu Uzala” is a precious present to all those who love and respect nature and otherness of the world and life. The film can be used as a cinematic textbook for International Green Movement. Please, visit: http://www.actingoutpolitics.com to read the article about “Dersu Uzala” – A Monument to An Alternative Civilization” (with analysis of shots), articles about other Kurosawa’s films, and essays about films by Godard, Resnais, Bergman, Bresson, Antonioni, Bunuel, Alain Tanner, Pasolini, Cavani, Fassbinder, Bertolucci, Moshe Mizrahi and Ronald Neame.

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