While conducting a topological survey in remotest Siberia, Russian army explorer Captain Vladimir Arseniev (Solomin) meets Dersu Uzala (Munzak), a man of the wilderness whose life is defined by his keen instinct for nature and surviving off the land. Over time, the Captain forges a deep bond with Dersu, who helps him navigate this forbidding territory. But as the gifted hunter's talents recede with old age, Arseniev must bring his friend back to civilization. Can Dersu adapt to this alien environment?
After a roughly ten-year decline in popularity and output (during which time Kurosawa attempted suicide), the master rose again in this stunning Russian-language film, co-produced by the Soviets. Based on a real-life adventurer's autobiographical journals and enhanced by the grizzled Munzak's poignant portrayal of the title character, this story of unlikely friendship and the passing of a way of life has a subtle beauty and near-mythic power. Kurosawa's versatile talents are on full display in this film, which won the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1975.