Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Dreams (1990 movie)
Dreams (aka Akira Kurosawa's Dreams, Yume, I Saw a Dream Like This, Konna yume wo mita, Such Dreams I Have Dreamed) is a 1990 portmanteau film based on actual dreams of the film's director, Akira Kurosawa. The film is based more on imagery than on dialogue. It consists of eight separate segments in the following order:
Sunshine Through The Rain
There is an old legend in Japan that states that when the sun is shining through the rain, the foxes have their weddings. In this first dream, a boy who defies a woman's (his mother?) wish to remain at home during a day with such weather. From behind a large tree in the nearby forest, he is witness to the slow wedding procession of the kitsune. Unfortuately, he is spotted by the foxes and runs. When he tries to return home, the same woman says that a fox had came by the house, leaving behind a short sword. The woman said that the dagger is meant for the boy to commit suicide because the foxes are angry at the unwanted observer. The woman asks that the boy go to beg forgiveness from the foxes, although they are known to be unforgiving. So, the boy sets off into the mountains, towards the place under the rainbow in search for the kitsune's home...
The Peach Orchard
Hina Matsuri, the Doll Festival, traditionally takes place in spring when the peach blossoms are in full bloom. The dolls that go on display at this time, they say, are representative of the peach trees and their pink blossoms. One boy's family, however, have chopped down their peach orchard, so the boy feels a sense of loss during this year's festival. After being scolded by his older sister, the boy spots a small girl running out the front door. He follows her to the now-treeless orchard, where, lo and behold, the dolls from his sister's collection have come to life and are standing before him on the slopes of the orchard. The living dolls berate the boy about the chopping-down of the precious trees, but after realizing how much he loved the blossoms, they agree to give him one last glance at the peach trees by way of a slow and beautiful dance.
A very slow-moving but beautifully haunting dream. A group of mountaineers are struggling up a mountain path during a horrendous blizzard. Gradually they lose themselves in the blinding snow and wind and are covered by the snow. Then a strange woman (possibly the Yuki-onna of Japanese myth) appears out of nowhere and tries to lure the last conscious man to his death. After coming to, the men discover that their destination wasn't too far from them at all.
A Japanese army officer is travelling down a deserted road at dusk, on his way back home from fighting in the war. He comes to a large concrete pedestrian tunnel that seems to go on forever into the darkness. Suddenly, an angry, almost demonic-looking dog runs out of the tunnel and snarls at him, then disappears back into the hole. Slightly rattled, the officer nevertheless proceeds through the tunnel and comes out the other side, but then witnesses something horrific - the spectre one of the soliders whom he had charge over in the war comes out of the tunnel behind him, face blue with death. The solider seems not to believe he's dead, but the officer convinces him and the soldier returns into the darkness of the tunnel. Just when he thinks he's seen the worst, the officer sees his entire battalion marching out of the tunnel. He tries to tell them they're dead, and expresses his deep-seated guilt about letting them all die in the war. They go back, followed by a second appearance of the hellish dog (a hellhound ?), and the man continues on his path home.
This is one of three "nightmares" featured in the film.
A brilliantly-colored vignette featuring director Martin Scorsese as Vincent Van Gogh. An art student find himself inside the vibrant and sometimes chaotic world inside Van Gogh's artwork, where he meets the artist in a field and converses with him. The student loses track of the artist (who is missing the oh-so-infamous ear and is nearing the end of his life) and travels through other works trying to find him. Van Gogh's painting Wheatfield with Crows is an important element in this dream.
Mount Fuji in Red
A large nuclear power plant near Mount Fuji has begun to melt down, painting the sky a horrendous red and sending the millions of Japanese citizens desperately fleeing into the ocean like lemmings. Three adults and two children are left behind on land, but they soon realize that the radiation will kill them anyway. Another one of the "nightmare" sequences.
The Weeping Demon
A man (possibly Kurosawa himself) finds himself wandering around a misty, bleak mountainous terrain. He meets a strange oni-like man, who is actually a mutated human with one horn. The "demon" explains that there had been a nuclear holocaust which resulted in enormous vegetation and humans sprouting horns, which caused them so much agony that you can hear them howling during the night. The last of the three "nightmare" sequences.
Village of the Watermills
A young man finds himself entering a peaceful, stream-laden village. Every house or building in the village has a watermill built into it. The traveller meets an old, wise man who is fixing a broken watermill wheel. The elder explains that the people of his village decided long ago to forsake the polluting influence of modern technology and return to a happier, cleaner era of society. They have chosen spiritual health over convenience, and the traveller is surprised but intrigued by this notion. At the end of the sequence (and the film), a funeral procession for an old woman takes place in the village, which instead of mourning, the people celebrate joyfully as the proper end to a good life.
- Akira Terao as I
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