«L’espace Kurosawa est un espace de souffle, c’est l’espace-respiration. Et Kurosawa, c’est fondamentalement la grande forme. Même dans des films d’indices… Il a fait un grand film d’indices, dont je ne sais plus jamais le nom… j’arrive pas à me le rappeler, là… le guide, le très beau film sur le guide… [“Dersou Ouzala”, l’aigle de la taïga.] (…)
C’est le souffle vital, c’est la respiration.»
– Deleuze, 27/04/82.
“Dersou Ouzala” (1975), by Akira Kurosawa. The film is based on the 1923 memoir by explorer Vladimir Arsenyev, about his exploration of the Sikhote-Alin region of the Russian Far East over the course of multiple expeditions in the early 20th century.
«- That valley reminded me of Walpurgis Night, a place where witches would gather for their Sabbath. (…)
– Who are you? A Chinese? A Korean?
– No. Me is Goldi.
– A hunter?
– Me hunt all the time. No other job.
– Where do you live?
– Not have home. Build a shack and sleep, and living like in a home.(…)
– You great hunter, shoot all beasts, we don’t have anything to eat. (…)
– Will you be our guide?
– Necessary me think. (…)
“The next day, without saying a word, Dersu took his place at the head of our squad.”
– There is a road here. (…)
– How you not understand? Look well! (…) You the same as children. Eyes not see. You live in the forest, die soon. (…)
“This Goldi filled me with admiration. He had amazing insight acquired during his long life in the forest. Besides, he had a beautiful soul. He provided for the needs of a person he didn’t know and probably wouldn’t ever see.” (…)
– Time to get ready. Listen good. Birds are starting to sing. Rain soon stop. Sun is coming out.
– Dersu, do you know what the sun is?
– Everyone knows the sun. Could be that you’ve never seen the sun? Look, there it is. Sun is the most important men. This men die, all die. And this [Moon] is another important men. This is bad men. Shout.
– If one listens to you, everything around are men.
– Look. All is men. Water alive. (…) Fire is still men. (…) Fire, water, wind. Three mighty men. (…)
– Young man always walk on his toes. Old man always walk on his heels. (…)
– Maybe we should invite the old man to come over to our fire.
– Don’t, Captain. Don’t disturb him. Him now think very much. He see house, he see garden all in blossom. (…)
“As the wind howled, I sank into darkness. I don’t know how long I slept.”
– Hey, bear! Climb out of the den! Sun is up!
“Only then did I realize what Dersu had done for me. His wits had saved me.” (…)
“You, my eagle with blue-black wings
Where have you been flying for so long
I was flying there over the mountains
Where it all was silence” (…)
– What me do? Kill tiger.
– The tiger ran away. He’s unharmed.
– No, tiger always run until die. (…)
“From that day Dersu changed. He became morose and irritable.”
– Why throw meat into fire? Meat throw into fire, lose. Tomorrow we go, other people here come, see meat, eat.
– Who would come here?
– How’s that? Who come? Badger come, marten come. Crow come, mouse come. All kinds of men in forest. (…)
– Smells! Men here!
– What men?
– Boars! (…) My nose see better than eyes. (…)
– My eyes get bad. Kanga not want me to live in forest. He send the tiger.
“Probably what Dersu called the tiger was the specter of his fear of the forest conjured by the imagination of a man grown old.” (…)
– Why give money for water? Much water is in river. Why you take money for water? (…)
– How can men sit in box? (…) Shoot a gun I can’t. Sleep outdoors I can’t. I not get enough air at all. (…)
– Dersu’s been arrested! (…)
– You know, he saw me buying firewood yesterday and grew very angry and went to the city park to chop down a tree. (…)
– Please… let me go back to hills. Live in city I cannot. (…)
“To Mr. Arseniev:
Your visiting card found on dead Goldi.
Request your presence to identify body.”»