Dersu Uzala (Дерсу Узала) is a nonfiction book written by Vladimir Arsenyev, a Russian officer sent on a series of exploration missions in the Siberian Far East at the turn of the 20th century. The book is named after an indigenous nomadic hunter whom Arsenyev befriended, and whose life was one of primal symbiosis with the harsh environment.The book was made into a movie on two occasions, the second and more famous adaptation being that of Akira Kurosawa in 1975.
Bamboo Technology: Save for his rifle, Dersu has no modern gear at all (and his rifle is described as being an antique he inherited from his father). With just a knife and what nature has to offer, however, he can craft pretty much anything he might need. Many times with actual bamboo, not uncommon in the taiga.
Chekhov's Gun: A literal, if unconventional, example. When Dersu returns to the wild for the last time Arseniev insists on giving him his Winchester rifle. The rifle is missing when Dersu's body is found later, implying that he was murdered for it.
Crazy Survivalist: At least once the Russians laughs of what they consider Dersu's excessive zeal on fire making or camping. Needless to say, he'salwaysright, so the others soon learn to shut up and start digging/lumbering/actually doing something.
Interchangeable Asian Cultures: The original candidate for the role of Nanai Dersu Uzala was Japanese Toshiro Mifune, and in the end Maxim Munzuk, a Tuvan, got the role.
Magical Manchukuo Asian: Though actually of Nanai ascent, Dersu sometimes fits the role accordingly, seeing the interconnectedness of all things, living in complete harmony with the environment, performing some shamanic medicine and addressing to all living things as "men". By extension, he might fall in the Crying Indian trope as well. Usually for good reasons.
Mighty Whitey: Averted. Arseniev repeatedly acknowledges how much he had learnt from Dersu and how it would have been absolutely impossible to navigate or even survive through the taiga without his guide.
What Could Have Been: The Soviet producers initially wanted to cast Kurosawa's frequent collaborator, Toshiro Mifune, in the role of Dersu, but he refused due to scheduling conflicts and an acrimonious falling-out they had with Kurosawa in 1965. In the end a Soviet actor Maxim Munzuk got the title role.