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>
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 mill scene.
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 chilling.
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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