Made in 1990, in the twilight of his career, this is the kind of out-there movie that only an auteur of Akira Kurosawa’s status could have brought (or had financed) to fruition. He had help from some American cineaste buddies like Steven Spielberg (producing) and Martin Scorsese (lending his acting skills and a ginger wig); but the result is something steeped almost entirely in Japanese culture, its history and traditions.
Dreams is structured as a series of brief chapters, each based on one of Kurosawa’s own dreams. It’s an approach that at once seems chaotic: half-formed vignettes with no connective tissue. But at the end of its two-hour runtime, the linking themes coalesce in the mind. In short, this is a heartfelt cry about the threat of industrialisation upon rural Japanese life.