A person from the art community I miss a lot is Linda Dubler. For many years Linda held the position at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta of Curator of Film and I’m convinced I would never have seen many of my most revered films had it not been for her diligence and love of the medium. Like many of the hard working visionaries on the art river she left us way early.
Akira Kurosawa reached a low point in his life about 1972. After a failed suicide attempt and becoming resigned to never directing again the Soviet studio Mosfilm came to him and asked if he would be interested in directing for them. After a year and a half working in Russia he delivered Dersu Uzala. But for Linda Dubler I think I would never have seen the scenes that I think changed my ideas of making images because the cuts I’ve seen of the movie in the last few years leave out those I find most valuable.
I suppose there aren’t enough fight scenes or car crashes or clever dialogue and the presenters just want to “get on with it.” But there are scenes from the original film that create a new reality somewhere between what can be perceived to be part of nature and a singular extension of light from an artist compelled to see more of the possibilities. I mean you could describe in terms from scientific to merely descriptive the image elements on film but it’s a useless exercise because the eye of the artist has made them something else, given us a different place to wander.
After seeing those images I have wanted to make my own that advance from what “is” and exist only to allow anyone’s imagination to offer their truth about that place and time. I must admit that since the first viewing of Dersu Uzala, try as I might, I have been successful in realizing this intent only a few times. Those few images give me peace, however, and make the quest for more exhilarating.
Thank you Linda. Wish you were here.