| Pod severnym siyaniyem /
Under Aurora/Orora No Shitade (1990)
Cast: (based on IMDb)
Andrei Boltnev ... Arseniy
Olegar Fedoro ... Siberian Convict Ivan
Nikita Mikhalkov ... Reiginev
Tetsuro Tamba ... Tsunejiro Kamisaka
Koji Yakusho ... Genzo Tamiya
Marina Zudina ... Anna
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Guts Ishimatsu ... The Military Police
Hiroyuki Iwaki ... Ume's husband
Akiko Kazami ... Genzo's mother
Hosei Komatsu ... Detective
Junkichi Orimoto ... Landowner
Minako Osanai ... Ume's mother
Junko Sakurada ... Ume Suzuki, Genzo's
Akio Satake ... Furrier
Atomu Shimojo ... Agent
Directed by Toshio Goto
Scenario: Atsushi Yamatoya
Based on two stories by Yukio Togawa
Running time:127 min.
Released date: August 4, 1990
When the film starts, we see on the screen a vast snow-covered field with the subtitle East Siberia and the year is
given as 1912.
We then see a sledge pulled by several dogs moving frantically fast and a pack of wolves chasing after the sledge.
Surrounded by starving wolves and fearing their onslaught, the sledge driver, Aryosha, releases his dog, a bitch
named Damuka, telling her to dash to his village for help. Aryosha has with him a political prisoner, a man whom
he has just rescued
from a camp for detainees.
At the next scene, we see a young Japanese hunter, Genzo Tamiya, walking across the snow with his dogs. It is
Koji Yakusho who plays the role of this hunter.
Genzo turns out to be a poacher, and the reason he is in Siberia is due to his fiancee, Ume.
Now Ume and Genzo had been brought up in the same village in Akita, and had been childhood sweethearts; they
had planned to get married at some future date, but in the event, Ume's parents, needing money to care for her
sick father, had sold Ume to a Geisha house in Akita city.
Hearing that Genzo needs money and that he is an excellent hunter, a local wealthy businessman, Jojiro, suggests
to Genzo that he should go over to Siberia as a poacher. Genzo accepts the suggestion as he presumes that is the
only possible way to earn a huge sum of money in a short time to rescue Ume.
This film has a sub-hero, called Bran, a "wolf-dog". He was born of a dog-mother and a wolf father. Remember,
the white dog, Damuka, which was sent for help to Aryosha's village. She somehow joined a pack of wolves and
gave birth to four puppies. Bran whose name means blizzard, is one of them.
Bran, who became the leader of the wolf pack did various mischievous actions in the area.
A wealthy Russian business man, called Reginev (Nikita Mikhalkov), whose beautiful white horse had been killed
by Bran, announces that a huge some of money will be paid to anybody who succeeds in killing Bran. Genzo,
learning of this rare chance to earn money, starts pursuing Bran.
When he comes to the nearest town to sell some furs, Genzo happens to meet a Russian sledge driver, Alseini
(Andrei Boltnev) and makes friends with him. Genzo also gets acquainted with a lady called Anna (Marina Zidina)
and her little daughter, Natasha. Anna, who served Genzo some food at her pub, looks stunned to see him, as he
closely resembles her late husband, Aryosha, who had been killed by the wolves that pursued him.
One day Alseiny finds Bran lying badly wounded in the snow and takes a good care of him at his home. Attracted
by Bran's cleverness and vigor, Alseini thinks of making him a sledge dog leader and starts training him.
Finally Bran becomes what Alseiny wants him to be. Genzo, who was at first against Alseini's plan, changes his
idea and starts practicing driving a sledge pulled by Bran and some other dogs.
Genzo's peaceful life ends one day, when he gets arrested by the police because he is a Japanese poacher and is a
Japanese without a passport. However, it is actually Reginev's excuse to have Genzo work to get good quality furs.
With Alseini's help, however,Genzo decides to return to Japan.
He says farewell to Alseini on the sledge pulled by Bran. Alseini hands Genzo a piece of beautiful fur as a gift to
|Genzo (Koji Yakusho) and
Anna (Marina Zudina). Anna
gets attracted by Genzo.
|Genzo and Alseiny who have conflicting
ideas about the treatment of Bran, fight in
the snow. After this, their friendship grows
|Alseiny (Andrei Botnev) trains Bran to
become a sledge- dog leader with the help
Koji Yakusho (Genzo Tamiya)
and Bran, wolf-dog.
Reportedly it took three years to complete shooting of this film. Yakusho spent two
winters and one summer in East Siberia. Bran was 5 or 6 months old when Yakusho first
met him. Yakusho says that he had made every possible effort to make friends with this
wolf-dog. We see in the film that it was a great success.
In Akita, Genzo finds that Ume has left the Geisha house as a man in Kyoto
who fell in love with her paid her debt and married her. Genzo goes to Kyoto
to see Ume, who is now married to a university professor (Hiroyuki Iwaki). She
confesses to Genzo that after waiting for him for three years, she accepted a
proposal from the professor because she was told by Jojiro that Genzo had died
in Siberia. She had Genzo's grave made in Kyoto. Celebrating on her happiness,
Genzo has decided after some hesitation, not to hand her Alseini's gift.
Soon after he returns to Akita, he gets arrested by the police because he had
gone to Siberia without a Japanese passport and they find that he had got a lot
of money which leads them to suspect that he is a Russian spy.
Genzo soon gets released and is asked this time to go over to Siberia as a guide
for the army who are to be sent to Siberia following the Russian Revolution
which has taken place in 1917.
After his mission is over, Genzo revisits the familiar area where he used to live.
Surprisingly, the once busy town is almost deserted. Anna's pub is closed. He
then visits Alseiny's house to find him seriously sick in bed. Bran looks very
Alseiny tells Genzo that all the people in that Siberian town had left after the
revolution, for fear of violence. Anna and her daughter, Natasha are now in a
far- away village, but food and medicine are extremely short there. Alseiny was
supposed to deliver the parcels including medicine to the village. Genzo tells
Alseiny that he is willing to deliver them. Alseiny dies that night leaving Bran
and the parcels in Genzo's hand.
Genzo feeds raw meat from his mouth to Bran, who has been refusing to eat.
This act has some effect on the wolf-dog and his strength returns. Genzo and
Bran's bond becomes firm.
The journey to the village turns out to be extremely hard. The sledge dogs die
one after another due to the cold and lack of food.
Finally only Bran remains. Genzo pulls the sledge by himself, trying to save
Bran disappears when Genzo sees a pack of wolves in the distance. Bran starts
running to them.
Bran has returned to Genzo! He has succeeded in dispersing the wolves. Genzo
embraces Bran in his arms.
A watch on a bell tower spies a man and a dog dragging a sledge approaching
the village. The bell rings loudly.
Anna gets surprised to find the man not Alseini but Genzo. Anna holds
frostbitten faced Genzo in her arms tightly. A beautiful aurora starts appearing
all over the sky.
Renewed on December 14, 2008