HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Apartment 1BR
1776
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Akira Kurosawa's Dreams Slumberland
Year: 1990
Director: Akira Kurosawa, Ishirô Honda
Stars: Akira Terao, Mitsuko Baishô, Toshie Negishi, Mieko Harada, Mitsunori Isaki, Toshihiko Nakano, Yoshitaka Zushi, Hisashi Igawa, Chôsuke Ikariya, Chishû Ryû, Martin Scorsese
Genre: FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Here are eight dreams made into short films by the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, starting with one from his early childhood where he was outside his family home and the rain began to fall just as the sun was still shining. His mother told him that this was the sort of weather when foxes seized the opportunity to hold their wedding celebrations, but with that in mind no human should ever try to watch them, lest they suffer their wrath. However, the little boy was not going to pay heed to his mother, and as the rain continued he headed out to the surrounding forest, burning with curiosity about the parade. Sure enough, after some searching he did manage to spy on the foxes - until they caught sight of him.

As possibly the most famous Japanese moviemaker of all time, you would have thought that by his autumn years Akira Kurosawa would have his pick of projects, with people lining up to finance them, but that was not the case as many of the potential backers from his homeland were not impressed with his script. Therefore it took a bunch of his American fans in the industry to provide the budget and in many cases the resources to complete Dreams, which led to some quirks in the eventual result, some more welcomed by his followers than others. It was not often he dabbled in outright fantasy, but this was an exception that not everyone was content with, accusing him of noodling around with half-realised themes and ideas. Pretentious self-indulgence, basically.

But Dreams still had its adherents, mostly among those who either appreciated the finer qualities of the visuals or could detect themes that the naysayers simply were not picking up on, or if they were, dismissing out of hand. Don't go thinking this was two hours of a Kurosawa stand-in wandering through shopping centres sans trousers or whatever your least favourite recurring nightmare would be - though nightmares played a part - as it may be the case that some would say there's nothing more boring than other people's dreams, but you had to have a little faith the veteran filmmaker had found a point worth getting across. Apparently these episodes really were based on his slumbering experiences, even the ones that had a political point.

It had to be mentioned that Kurosawa didn't quite have the courage of his convictions as far as bringing them to the screen went, as he had directorial assistance in the form of Godzilla's greatest pal, Ishirô Honda, the man who had done so much to put Japan's more fantastical cinema on the world map. He helmed the war-based segment where the surrogate Akira (another Akira, Akira Terao) walked down a tunnel after being barked at loudly by a war dog then on emerging was faced with his dead comrades who he had to convince were deceased and should accept their conflict was over. Honda also arranged the sequence where nuclear reactors are set off by a Mount Fuji eruption, creating an apocalypse in an eerily prescient tale some saw as a prediction of the 2011 disaster in Japan.

Kurosawa tended towards the quieter scenes, such as a stately dance number by the spirits of chopped down peach trees, or the snowbound trudge to base camp by a team of four which almost ends with their death in the arms of a winter demon, more evidence that death was playing on the director's mind as his career wound up. Everything was either connected to guilt or death, and the hope one could be coped with before the other enveloped you, with even Vincent Van Gogh not long for this world in spite of his boundless creativity when the Akira substitute meets him. Many accused Kurosawa of a bizarre misstep in casting another director, Martin Scorsese, in the role, but he does have a great opening line - "Why aren't you painting? To me this scene is beyond belief!" - and his natural passion for art makes for a convincingly driven talent. It all eases down the plot to a utopia where man and nature are in perfect harmony, acknowledging this is only a dream but also that it must say something about the waking state. An eccentricity, but intriguing with it. Music by Shinichirô Ikebe.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2294 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Akira Kurosawa  (1910 - 1998)

Japanese director and writer, and one of the most important figures in 20th century cinema. Kurosawa was greatly influenced by Hollywood - John Ford being his idol - but more than any other film-maker was responsible for introducing Japanese films to West. He originally trained as an artist and worked as a studio scriptwriter, before directing his first film in 1943, the martial arts drama Judo Saga. Kurosawa's next few films were made during World War II and had to adhere to strict state guidelines; it was 1948's gangster movie Drunken Angel that first saw the director's emerging personal vision, and was his first film to star regular leading man Toshirô Mifune.

Rashomon was the film that brought Kurosawa acclaim in the West, winning top prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1951, and a string of classics followed - Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, Seven Samurai - all set in Feudal Japan and combining incredible cinematography and thrilling action with humour, sadness and deep insights into human behaviour. The director also turned in some superb non-period film around this time too, such as the thrillers The Bad Sleep Well and High and Low.

The following decade proved a frustrating one for Kurosawa, as he struggled to get projects off the ground, culminating with the box office failure of Dodesukaden and a suicide attempt in 1970. The director's fortunes turned when 1975's Russian epic Dersu Uzala won the Best Foreign Language Oscar, while his next two films were among his very best - the beautifully shot Kagemusha and 1985's spectacular, hugely successful King Lear adaptation, Ran. Kurosawa's final films were smaller and more personal - Dreams, Rhapsody in August and Not Yet. He died of a stroke in 1998, aged 88.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: