A Sage Not of This World: “Dersu Uzala”

Murat Can Reis
4 minutes

Nature is the only book with the most profound writings on every leaf.


The universe has been like a book waiting to be read since the day it came into existence. Whatever has been written and spoken so far is the meanings that have been taken from the universe. Throughout history, humanity has first tried to understand itself and then its surroundings, and then started to give form to its surroundings by making sense of it with the meaning overflowing from itself. As time chased time and the ages changed, man’s detachment from nature accelerated and modern man became alienated from himself and faced being on the edge of an abyss.

Dersu Uzala is a character who shows us the value of remaining human, of living humanely, of preserving the love he carries without losing it, in an age when “modern man” has become mechanized and artificialized. Throughout the movie, he acts in a way that sheds light on the essence and truth of human beings. He reveals this in a natural flow rather than in a didactic, disturbing manner. So much so that he immerses himself in the era of harmony and remains aloof from all interests and petty calculations. He cannot understand why the soldier to whom he once entrusted his money ran away, he is worried about that soldier, he does not even think that the soldier ran away. Knowing all the difficulties of living in the jungle, he has managed to become a man of the jungle. Having experienced the hardships of survival, when he leaves the forest, he asks that matches, rice and salt be left in the hut. In case someone else happens to pass by. When a wolf attack is imminent, he confronts the wolf not with a weapon but with his love, and the attack does not take place. The life he built with love and innocence takes a big blow when he comes to the city where water is sold and trees are cut down.

Dersu Uzala is a modern-day sage, whose home is the forest. In the jungle there is no profit, no lies, no deceit, no rivalry. Everything is self-evident and real. He is the one who shows that only through love can what is meant to be become what it is meant to be. It is the one who shows that there is a meaning hidden in every leaf, tree, insect, bird, wolf, animate and inanimate beings, and that unless this meaning is understood, human beings will be trapped in artificial realities and will be lonely and unhappy.

Dersu Uzala is a movie that carries wisdom and deep meaning in every moment, in every scene. There is no rush there, everything flows as naturally as possible. It is thought-provoking without tiring or hurting. The overflowing mana is nothing but the essence of the human being. It makes you think about being human. Hoping to see the days when we can remain human and live with pure unadulterated love.

Dersu and Kapitan watching the sunset “Kapitan, the sun is the most important man. This man die, everything die.

Notes for the curious:

  1. Akira Kurosawa made the film at the end of a bad period, both personally and cinematographically, when he attempted suicide, and a new rise began for him.
  2. The film is the master director’s only non-Japanese production shot in 70mm.

Who was Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998); director, producer, screenwriter. Kurosawa, nicknamed the Emperor, was a pioneer in the world of cinema by using many techniques for the first time, using multiple cameras in his films, creating masterpieces that were the envy of the western world and revealing his genius even in low-budget films.

Seven Samurai, Ran, Dreams, Rashomon, Yojimbo, and Dersu Uzala are among the important films of the director who is considered one of the greatest directors of all time.

Leave a Comment

We use cookies to improve our service. Read more Accept