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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(also know as 'Дерсу Узала')

Japanese/Russian 1974

A few months after his notorious suicide attempt, Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa was regenerated by the notion of helming the first Russian/Japanese co-production. Co-scripted and directed by Kurosawa, Dersu Uzala is the story of an elderly guide and Goldi hunter (Maxim Munzuk), who, at the turn of the century, agrees to shepherd a Russian explorer (Yuri Solomin) and a troop of soldiers through the most treacherous passages of the Far East. The guide has been "one" with the land almost from birth, and is thus able to save his party from perishing. Four years in the making, Dersu Uzala won the 1976 Best Foreign Film Oscar and restored the flagging Akira Kurosawa to the top ranks of the Japanese film industry.


Dersu Uzala is told through the eyes of a Russian topographer, Captain Arseniev (Yuri Solomin), who leads a military expedition in 1902 to map the Ussuri region of Siberia, near the border of China. One night, their camp is stumbled upon by a squat, comical hunter, Dersu Uzala (Maksim Munzuk), a superstitious member of the Goldi people, a vestige of the region's more primitive inhabitants. At first, the soldiers scoff at Dersu's peculiar habits: conversing with a crackling fire, reading footprints in uncanny detail, insisting they leave a store of supplies behind when they depart from a vacant shack (so the next inhabitant will have food and fire).

But there is much practical wisdom in the gnomish hunter's eccentricities. When the soldiers take target practice on a bottle swinging from a rope, Dersu chides them for the waste of resources. After proving his superior aim by shooting the rope, he pockets the unbroken glass bottle, explaining that it is a rare commodity so far from civilization.

In the film's justly celebrated centerpiece, Dersu and Arseniev are isolated and disoriented on a frozen tundra without camping gear. As the sun begins to set (bringing with it certain death in the bitter cold), Dersu commands Arseniev to begin cutting stalks of grass, and struggles to construct a makeshift shelter as they are buffeted by freezing winds. It is a sequence of riveting tension and extraordinary beauty (in one shot, you can actually watch the sun disappear from the sky as the characters struggle with the bullrushes in the foreground).


Release Date: July 1975 (Moscow Film Festival)

 Image Entertainment NTSC  Region 0 vs. Spectrum Region 3 (3 Discs)

Film Reviews                           R1 DVD Reviews


DVD Box Covers

Distribution Image Entertainment - Kino
Region 0 NTSC 
Spectrum - 3 Discs 
Region 3/6 encoded  
Runtime 2:23:30 min 2:15:30 / American Version - 2:21min
Video Original Aspect Ratio, 2.35:1 Letterboxed WideScreen 
Average Bitrate: 6.43 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s
2.20:1 widescreen Anamorphic versions on Disc 1 + 2 ,  a 2.35:1 Letterboxed  WideScreen version on Disc 3.
Average Bitrate: 6.33 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
Audio Russian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

Russian Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles English or none Korean, Russian, English or none

Edition Details:

• All Regions
• Color, Widescreen
• Widescreen letterbox format

  • Specs and Features
  • 140 mins
  • NR,
  • letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1)
  • single-sided
  • RSDL dual-layered (layer switch 1:16:54, in chapter 14)
  • Snapper case packaging
  • American theatrical release trailer
  • film-themed menu screens
  • scene access (27 chapters)


Disc 1: Movie (original version), part one 
Special features:
  • Vladimir Arseniev Archive Two pages of text, all in English.
  • Making the film: with ENGLISH SUBTITLES! (You’ll have to access them from your remote, though, not from a menu.) It clocks in as under 5 minutes.
  •  Photo Gallery
Disc 2: Movie, part two
(same audio and subtitle options)
Special Features
  • About the Writer Vladimir Arseniev (again, just under 5 minutes, but again, with English subtitles!)
  •  About the director Akira Kurosawa (this time 9 minutes and still with English subtitles)
  • About the movie (just under 7 minutes, with English subs.)
  • Cast & Crew (text screen bios and filmographies, but all in English)
Length of movie (Part 1 - Disc 1 ): 1 hour, 7.5 minutes

Length of movie (Part 2 - Disc 2 ): 1 hour, 8 minutes



Disc 3: American Version of the Film - Widescreen 2.35:1
  • Widescreen 2.35;1

  •  Audio: Russian mono, English Mono

  • Subtitles: Korean, English, none

                  (no special features)
Length of movie: 2 hours, 21 minutes
Alternate Version

NOTE: there is also another DVD version of this film from RusCiCo, The Russian Cinema Council:


Click to access


Audio: Russian, English, French

Subtitles: Russian, English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Portugese, Japanese, Herbew, Swedish, Chinese, Arabic

Special Features: 

  • Interview with actor Yuri Solomin.
  • Behind the scenes.
  • Biography of writer V.K. Arsenyev.
  • Cast and Crew Filmographies.
  • Photo Album.

NOTE: the first two discs are exactly the same as the Korean, except added subtitles.

DVD Release Date: May 23, 2002
Keep Case
Chapters: 27
DVD Release Date: September 3, 2002
Keep Case
Disc 1 + 2 - 22 Chapters: Disc 3 - 10 Chapters




Image and Spectrum 3rd disc ( American version) are just about identical.  Disc 1 is cropped slightly (2.35 to 2.20), although I think it may be the brightest image quality.


Look at the clipping in the white snow ( captures #3, #4) in the Korean Disc 1 image (bottom pictures)!  They nuked all detail in their effort to make the snow appear more white. For shame.


I would buy the Image disc although the Spectrum has better extras, it has correct aspect ratio, colors and framing to my eye. Unfortunately all image discs are video-sourced.


Note: The Spectrum Disc One has an extremely bad shimmering problem.


NOTE: R3 details and screen caps courtesy of Kevin Parent

Recommended Reading for Japanese Film Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"

DVD Menus

(Image Entertainment - Kino left, Spectrum  right)

(Image Entertainment - Kino LEFT, Spectrum Disc 3 RIGHT, Spectrum - Disc 1 BOTTOM)

(Image Entertainment - Kino LEFT, Spectrum Disc 3 RIGHT, Spectrum - Disc 1 BOTTOM)

(Image Entertainment - Kino LEFT, Spectrum Disc 3 RIGHT, Spectrum - Disc 1 BOTTOM)

(Image Entertainment - Kino LEFT, Spectrum Disc 3 RIGHT, Spectrum - Disc 1 BOTTOM)

(Image Entertainment - Kino LEFT, Spectrum Disc 3 RIGHT, Spectrum - Disc 1 BOTTOM)

DVD Box Covers

Distribution Image Entertainment - Kino
Region 0 NTSC 
Spectrum - 3 Discs 
Region 3/6 encoded  


Report Card:





Extras: Spectrum
Menu: Spectrum

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