AKIRA KUROSAWA'S DREAMS (1990) C widescreen 119m dir: Akira Kurosawa

w/Mitsuko Baisho, Martin Scorsese, Chishu Ryu, Akira Terao, Mieko Harada

Eight self-contained segments comprise writer-director Kurosawa's interpretation of his dreams, which touch on subjects as diverse as Asian mysticism and ecology. The film is both solemn and exhilarating; Kurosawa is examining the specter of death and the power of creativity. Filmmaker Scorsese plays artist Vincent Van Gogh in the fifth episode, Crows. Takao Saito and Masaharu Ueda's cinematography is magnificent.

From The Movie Guide: "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. ...

"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."