Friday, March 19, 2010

Dreams (1990)

DREAMS
DIRECTED BY: AKIRA KUROSAWA & ISHIRO HONDA (uncredited)
WRITTEN BY: AKIRA KUROSAWA
OVERALL SCORE: 8.00/10


A collection of 8 short films, taken from dreams by directors' Kurosawa and Honda.

"A scene that looks like a painting doesn't make a painting. If you look closely, all of nature has its beauty."

The beautiful, almost portrait like elegance of Kurosawa's dreams, found in stark contrast with the gritty climactic visuals of Honda, Dreams is a surreal visual experience like few others. These interpretational sequences range from simple, child-like wonder and awe, to the painful, and apocalyptic. There's lots that can be derived, and I'm sure those prone to analysis will find themselves absorbed fully into the worlds created with each new sequence. It's honestly one of the most intriguing films I've watched in a long while.

Now I admit interpretational films aren't really my thing, but I found the ones here to be quite solid. They're out there enough that they engross you into their outer worldly stature, while being simple enough they contain a solid message. The nightmarish quality of some, perfectly counterbalances the wonder of the dream world in others. The Tunnel sequence, for example, is an amazingly powerful scene of a man dealing with the ghosts of the war, literally. While those who love art, much like Kurosawa himself, will enjoy Kurosawa's journey through the mind of Van Gogh (played by Martin Scorsese, pictured above), as his paintings come to life (this is perhaps the most beautifully directed sequence, in my opinion).

It's an amazingly beautiful feat. Though I must admit Blizzard and Mount Fuji in Red both left me a bit underwhelmed, the writing and shot composition in both is simply breathtaking. It's one of those rare collective experiences where there's not one I didn't enjoy, even if they felt a bit simple. I have to say, if you're looking for a better example of why Kurosawa was a visual genius, you're not going to do much better than right here. It's just mind numbingly beautiful.

While it won't appeal to everyone, Dreams is a surreal experience, that goes well beyond the normal confines, and into the work of true film art.

3 better thoughts:

Aiden R. said...

Rather than write the same thing on every one of these Kurosawa movies, I'll keep it short and say that this marathon is one kickass undertaking, one that I am very jealous of and need to take on myself. Heard great things about this movie and have been wanting to see Stray Dog and Throne of Blood for ages now. Good stuff, man. I need to check my game accordingly.

Univarn said...

@Aiden thanks for your support! There are an incalculable number of classics I haven't seen so fear not, this is just a personal challenge :)

Rick "The Hat" Bman said...

I love Dreams but i really think it is one that is hard to appreciate until you have seen a few other Kurosawa films. It feels like this culmination of everything he's been trying to say with film put into one movie. It is an amazingly beautiful film and definitely one of his more under appreciated. I haven't watched it in awhile, I might have to change that soon.

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