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.
In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
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>
Akira Kurosawa: [weather] 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 »
Most people dream but I wonder how many are rewarded with such beauty when
their eyelids close and they drift into semi-consciousness. Kurosawa has
collected some of his dreams and shares them with us. I don't ever remember
seeing such vivid colours in my own dreams, but like Kurosawa's they are
often fragmented and incomplete with a mystical quality involving spirits
and the dead.
I like the peach tree scene where true repentance makes things right. Not
only the peach blossom but also the kimono of the characters tiered up the
hillside are most pleasing to the eye. As also is the meeting with van Gogh
when his paintings with mad whirls of colour are brought to life and form
part of the landscape.
Some dreams can be very frustrating when we are caught in a dangerous
situation from which there is no ready means of escape. This is
dramatically illustrated in the Mt. Fuji episode in which nuclear plants
explode and a fog of coloured radio-active gases envelopes the characters.
There is a strong message here about saving the environment. This message
is also accented in the ogre scene and the peach tree scene and the water
Some viewers might find the going slow at times. For example, the mountain
climbers struggling in knee-deep snow seem to move at the rate of a few
steps each minute and being encouraged by their leader to keep going as they
strive to reach their camp. A mystical event occurs and in the morning when
the heavy fog clears, a surprise awaits them. This feeling of striving and
getting nowhere is common in dreams, at least in mine.
There is also mysticism involved in the tunnel scene where an ex-soldier
meets the remainder of his platoon all of whom were killed in battle. The
sound of their marching feet echoing through the empty tunnel is quite
Apart from a few dramatic moments the film is somewhat subdued. It is an
art film beautifully conceived and should be reserved for one of those quiet
moments when we are in a meditative mood.
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