Following World War II, a retired professor approaching his autumn years finds his quality of life drastically reduced in war-torn Tokyo. Denying despair, he pursues writing and celebrates his birthday with his adoring students.
This is essentially eight separate short films, though with some overlaps in terms of characters and thematic material - chiefly that of man's relationship with his environment. 'Sunshine Through The Rain': a young boy is told not to go out on the day when both weather conditions occur, because that's when the foxes hold their wedding procession, which could have fatal consequences for those who witness it. 'The Peach Orchard': the same young boy encounters the spirits of the peach trees that have been cut down by heartless humans. 'The Blizzard': a team of mountaineers are saved from a blizzard by spiritual intervention. 'The Tunnel': a man encounters the ghosts of an army platoon, whose deaths he was responsible for. 'Crows': an art student encounters 'Vincent Van Gogh' and enters the world of his paintings. 'Mount Fuji in Red': nuclear meltdown threatens the devastation of Japan. 'The Weeping Demon': a portrait of a post-nuclear world populated by human mutations. 'Village of the ... Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The types of weather in each segment set the mood or have a symbolic meaning, be it the rain/rainbow in "Sunshine Through the Rain" and its traditional folklore-based meaning, the snowy tempest in "The Blizzard" representing difficult times in life when one needs to persevere to achieve his goal, the gusts of wind in "Mount Fuji in Red" setting the tone of chaos and turbulence of the segment, and finally the contrast between the heavy clouds of "The Weeping Demon" and the serene sunny weather in "Village of the Watermills". See more »
Going back to what made Akira Kurosawa a star, Dreams is a film driven by a completely original concept. Like Rashomon, this is something that had never been done before. To my knowledge, nobody since has had the skill or guts to make a movie that accurately captures the spirit of........ bizarre Dreams. These stories are filmed and written just like real dreams. They're full of strange events that most of the time make no sense, yet everyone in the story totally believes it to be normal.
My favourite segments are "The Tunnel", as story where a former military commander encounters the ghosts of all the soldiers who died under his command. The Commander explaining why his soldiers died is hands down the best acting in the movie. My second favourite wold be "The Peach Orchard". This is about a young boy that finds a group of living dolls in the fields. The dolls are furious that the boy's family have destroyed all the peach tress in the Orchard. This segment was the most dreamlike. My third favourite would be "Mount Fuji In Red". In that there is a nuclear meltdown. Panic spreads and a few survivors contemplate whether or not to end their lives.
In traditional Kurosawa fashion, this movie is visually breathtaking. Kurosawa films don't just look great, they look unique and interesting. The visuals in Dreams helps create the hypnotic dream-like state. In the "Crows" story, a man enters the world of a Van Gogh painting. Parts of the scenery here are natural landscapes, and parts are made to look like a painting. In "Blizzard" mountain climbers are on the verge of death. They're rescued by a snow spirit. The blinding snow and the sort of slow motion effect when you see the Snow Fairy makes this segment perhaps the most hypnotic images Kurosawa has ever produced.
I wouldn't want anyone to get the idea that this is just a bunch of unconnected segments. Several characters appear in various segments, and some are meant to play back to back. I have to say that Dreams may not be for everyone. I'd recommend everyone alive check it out, though. Some may love it, some may not understand it. I'm on the side of this being one of the last brilliant works of the World's greatest Director.
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