Post: The most Soviet Kurosawa film: how to make a movie about the taiga and get an Oscar

MOSCOW, March 26 – RIA Novosti, Anna Nekhaeva. After the adaptation of the film “War and Peace”, the “Oscar” was awarded another Soviet film about adventures in the Ussuri region. The picturesque drama “Dersu Uzala” was filmed by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. In the material of RIA Novosti about how she worked in the USSR, where they found one of the leading actors and why Danelia bought the statuette.

An unexpected collaboration

In the early 1970s, Akira Kurosawa was not having the best moment of her career – she had difficulties in financing films and even attempted suicide due to the failure of the movie “To the Sound of Tram Wheels”.

At a meeting in Japan in 1971, director Sergei Gerasimov suggested that Kurosawa shoot the film in the USSR. The master agreed: he recently terminated his contract with Hollywood (while working on a film about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor) and paid the Americans a fine.

On the set of the movie “Dersu Uzala”

It should be noted that Kurosawa loved to read and has made many adaptations, including Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot and Maxim Gorky’s play At the Bottom. He used motifs from William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and “Macbeth”.

Therefore, it was hardly surprising that Vladimir Arseniev’s novel “Dersu Uzala” was chosen. True, before the final decision, Kurosawa thought about creating a script based on Gogol’s Taras Bulba or Dostoevsky’s Notes from the House of the Dead.

But in the end we got a story about Arsenyev’s expedition to the Far East, the travels and adventures of his friend, the wise and kind hunter Dersu Uzala.

It was Kurosawa’s first non-Japanese film and the only one he shot in widescreen 70mm film.

On the set of the movie “Dersu Uzala”

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Kurosawa is known for his attention to detail, especially his casting.

In the role of Dersu, she saw her friend Seven Samurai, Rashomon, and Japanese Toshiro Mifune, star of Bodyguard. But he was busy during the shooting of the movie “Dersu Uzala”.

They thought of Nanai Kolya Beldy and Buryat dancer Tsyden Badmaev. However, Maksim Munzuk left everyone behind.

He was born in the Qing Empire, which also included Tuva. During the Great Patriotic War he learned to hunt to feed his family. Later he played in the theater, sang songs, made films, collected folklore.

Before the Oscar-winning painting, the artist was known only in the republic. The second director of the film, Vladimir Vasiliev, came to the city of Red and asked someone from the local theater for advice on the main role. They named him Maxim Munzuk.

We went to the actor’s house to invite him to audition, and his wife answered: husband is on the hunt. The next day, however, Munzuk came to the hotel and said that he had agreed to attend.

True, they waited a week, according to another version. Returning and learning about the casting, the artist left the gun at home and went, as it were, to Vasiliev. And from there he was immediately taken by plane to Moscow for testing. The result is a very original Dersu.

Kurosawa sought out Yuri Solomin for the role of Vladimir Arsenyev, impressed by the actor’s performance in “His Excellency’s Adjutant.”

The artist was very pleased with the invitation: firstly, it is always interesting to work with a famous director, and secondly, Yuri Methodievich himself comes from the Far East. Kurosawa later said that Solomin is an actor who understands everything perfectly.

The main actors soon became friends.

A still from the movie “Dersu Uzala”

“He’s among the greatest cinematographers on the planet, like Kurosawa, Fellini, Antonioni, Kalatozov,” Solomin told RIA Novosti.

Japanese Precision

On the set of the movie “Dersu Uzala”

An impressive four million dollars was allocated for the project. Filming took two years – it was necessary to show different natural seasons. The filmmakers were given to understand: you cannot deny yourself anything, the main thing is that the picture must come out.

Mosfilm offered Kurosawa to shoot scenes in the taiga in the Moscow region – they did not want to allow foreigners to enter the Far East. In the end, the authorities were convinced, but the fact that there was always a KGB officer on set made the director angry.

On the set of the movie “Dersu Uzala”

Kurosawa went into every detail to please the film crew: correcting the actors’ make-up, choosing outfits, drawing a sketch for each scene and forcing them to hang leaves on trees that had fallen the day before so that the picture wouldn’t change. frame.

The Japanese director really wanted to do everything. They say that when Solomin independently collects a backpack for his hero, he folds everything the character may need, as described in the original book. As a result, the artist was barely able to lift the bag.

A still from the movie “Dersu Uzala”

Another strange surrender

Soviet directors had no chance with the Oscars. A gilded plaster statuette was brought to the USSR by cameraman Vladislav Mikosha for “The Defeat of the German Troops Near Moscow”. Lyudmila Savelyeva received the award for “War and Peace” (already on the plane, the “knight” was taken away by the authorities).

Dersu Uzala won two Oscars. One – to a Japanese producer (Kurosawa had a difficult relationship with the Americans), and the second – to Georgy Danelia. He was at a film forum in the United States with the film “Afonya” and was asked to buy a statuette from him – for the USSR, the award was a surprise, no one went to the ceremony.

It is interesting that “Dersu Uzala” is shown under the name “Hunter” in the USA. An interesting situation arose in 2011 – a movie of the same name was released with Willem Dafoe and Frances O’Connor.

“If you want to see a really good movie about hunting, you better watch Kurosawa’s movie.” recommendation then professional hunter Steven Rinella examines the two photos.

The most expensive Soviet film: How War and Peace won an Oscar

Source: Ria

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