This is a little known masterpiece directed by Akira Kurosawa, who made so many it’s easy to lose count. It’s about a company of Russian troops exploring the far reaches of the Siberian tundra in the part of Russia Sarah Palin can see from her back porch. One night this Chinese guy walks up to their campfire, makes himself at home and all but volunteers to join up with the Russians on their surveying mission. His name is Dersu Uzala, and he is among a vanishing breed of Siberian mountain men who live entirely in tune with their surroundings.

Here’s a video of that scene:

Dersu always knows when there’s a tiger in the neighborhood. He insists on leaving food and firewood in an old lean-to so the next travelers who find it might have something to keep them alive.

In one pivotal section of the film, he and the Russian commander get lost near nightfall on a broad expanse of tundra. He knows they have only one chance for survival: chop down as much of the tall grass around them and pile it high for insulation. Great stuff.