Jan 282008

We’re currently near the end of Dersu Uzala, I think.

I had remarked in a previous post that I wished Siberiade would have shown us more of Siberia. Well, this one does. There are great scenery shots of frozen lakes, spring breakup, deep forests. But so far there is not much of Siberian settlements and cities. For that, I guess I’ll have to settle for the news programs on RTR Planeta. They sometimes give clips from snowy winter streets in Siberian towns. But I’d like to see how the countryside transitions to town, and what kind of buildings one finds out on the edge, etc.

In Siberiade I had seen something I’ve never seen in the U.S. — people in the woods putting a towel under their hats and letting it flap around their ears and neck. Given the setting, I’m guessing it’s more to shoo mosquitos away than to provide shade from the hot sun. When Nikita Mikhalkov’s oil-drilling crew comes to Elan, several of the men are wearing these things. But later, in a scene in which Mikhalkov is wading through a deep swamp, he takes the thing off, and they are never seen again on anyone. I would think the swamp would be a place where he’d need it like in no other place, but I suppose it’s hard to get good camera shots of the actors’ heads with those things in the way.

Those things made an appearance on Dersu Uzala, too, underneath the soldiers’ military visor hats. But again, it seems they mostly went away, probably to make it easier to photograph faces.

I don’t know if there’s a word for it, so until I learn better I’ll just call them towel heads.