DIRECTOR:                     AKIRA KUROSAWA
COUNTRY:                     JAPAN 1990
CAST:                              Martin Scorcese as Van Gogh
SUPER FEATURES:        Kurosawa's Short Stories, if you will.

Akira Kurosawa, has been accused of being a rat, because he will not do a film for the greedy Japanese studios who want him to make them
millions of yen. Instead, Akira goes around the world to find funding for whatever work he has finished writing, and gets it done with very
little fuss, and with a lot of international good will, for his truly beautiful and colorful work.

And while this type of work may not be indicative of the trend of Japanese money making films, it is a love offering for the world of film enthusiasts which Akira Kurosawa has gained over fifty years of film making. His work is staunchly personal, and totally against the 'public' faire, which Hollywood prefers, as does Tokyo. In the process, he makes use of his best friends around the world, who always produce his work, and make sure it gets released, despite the man being blacklisted in his own country as a renegade director. At least he knows he will be remembered and revered as an artist, something that the money makers never will get. What they get in money, Akira will get in years of being remembered as a stupendous film maker, who deserves it.

DREAMS is a personal set of short stories on film. And while they are unusual, they still stand out. The three best stories (gosh I don't even remember if there were more in the film) were the first one which dealt with a child who sees the spirit of the peach trees (the diva is the accurate description) tell him that he should keep these trees alive forever, instead of cutting them down for a development, which seems to be the obvious outcome as Japan grows and prospers into the industrial world. The hint is that all the beauty of these visions will disappear. An odd piece, in that things tend to appear and disappear in a dance ritual that is dazzling, and hypnotic at the same time.

The second one has to do with another young man, who is ready for war, in his military outfit. They all march into a tunnel, and on the other end of the tunnel, only the young man shows up, the rest presumably all dead. It is a beautiful metaphor about how war treats people. The young man is scared, and immediately lonesome, and having to deal with his own perceptions and emotions.

Another story is about Van Gogh, and how he worked, played by the director Martin Scorcese (a special friend to Akira), a tribute not so much to the artist, but to Akira himself, who must consider himself a Van Gogh, in an age where they do not appreciate the real art of the spirit, much less the country.

As usual, the film is beautifully filmed, with startling color, and so alive as to make us quite a part of it. In the field of flowers, where the painter works, the camera rarely lifts itself above the level of the flowers who touch the camera lovingly. A startling commentary about what art is, rather than what a movie is. While the actual 'copy' is not what Van Gogh does, the camera does the same, by providing us with the real inspiration, rather than money.






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