Akira Kurosawa's Dreams

One of the stand-out film from Akira Kurosawa’s underrated later period, 1990’s Dreams is one of the director’s most autobiographical film as well as his most fantastical. Culled from Kurosawa’s actual dreams –- from childhood through oldhood -– these eight highly-varied vignettes form a vivid memoir of the sleep life of one of last century’s most fertile and disciplined imaginations. Mount Fuji melts, dolls come to life as the sky clouds over with peach blossoms, and humanoid foxes perform secret wedding ceremonies in the rain. With George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic on visual effects, the images nearly pop off the screen. And, in a stunningly unforgettable dream, the protagonist pops into a Van Gogh canvas, wandering through closeups of the artist’s brushstrokes and live-action recreations of his landscapes to meet a Van Gogh (played by Martin Scorsese!) who, sensing his own mortality, obsesses over his craft in the little time he has left. Completed when Kurosawa was 80, the weirdly beautiful Dreams shows just how fruitful those later years of a world-class auteur can be.
Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1990, 35mm, 119 min.

Watch an excerpt from “Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams”!
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