Dreams

DREAMS is a mixed bag from one of the Old Masters of world cinema. On the one hand, it overflows with heavy-handed messages on topics ranging from ecology to pacifism as it scolds the audience for their wanton ways. On the other, it's a glorious triumph of style over content. DREAMS springs from the side of Kurosawa that produced IKIRU, DODES'KA-DEN, and...read more

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DREAMS is a mixed bag from one of the Old Masters of world cinema. On the one hand, it overflows with heavy-handed messages on topics ranging from ecology to pacifism as it scolds the audience for their wanton ways. On the other, it's a glorious triumph of style over content. DREAMS

springs from the side of Kurosawa that produced IKIRU, DODES'KA-DEN, and other intimate dramas films with which American audiences are less familiar and which lack the presence of Toshiro Mifune or samurai swordplay.

Beginning with a wedding that looks more like a funeral and ending with a funeral that seems more like a wedding, DREAMS is made up of eight vignettes, thematically united by their concern with Man's relationship to nature, mystery and his fellow man. The vignettes include "The Blizzard," in which

the weary leader of a mountain expedition is tempted by Death in the form of a beautiful snow demoness; "Crows," in which an aspiring artist enters a Vincent Van Gogh painting to learn the artist's secrets from the painter himself (played with appropriate intensity by director Martin Scorsese);

and "Mt. Fuji in Red," in which Japan's most famous landmark is destroyed in a nuclear power-plant meltdown.

None of the vignettes have much narrative beyond their rudimentary premises and when they do, they are left eerily unresolved. Some of the action is staged in stylized, excruciating slow motion. Though the film certainly has some nightmarish moments, it also has a wry sense of humor which often

bubbles up when least expected. At other times, DREAMS is almost dismayingly mundane, especially in its scripting. Nonetheless this is clearly the work of a master filmmaker, even if his DREAMS are as unpredictable and uneven as our own.

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