A film by Akira Kurosawa.

This is one of a series of notes for A Chronological Biography of Akira Kurosawa.

Eight "dreams", stories based upon dreams Kurosawa had throughout his lifetime deal with such concerns as the futility of war, the perils of nuclear power and humanity's relationship with nature. Lyrical and poignant, beautifully shot. The first story of the inari, the fox spirits is one of my favourite things by Kurosawa. Don't miss Martin Scorsese as Vincent Van Gogh.

Title: Dreams
Original Title in Japanese: Yume
Running Time: 120 min
Year: 1990
Company: Kurosawa Productions
Writer: Akira Kurosawa
Director(s) of Photography: Takao Saito, Shouji Ueda (support: Kazumi Hara)
Production Designer: Yoshiro Muraki, Akira Sakuragi
Music: Shinichiro Ikebe

Sunshine Through the Rain: Mitsuko Baisho (Mother of "I"), Toshihiko Nakano ("I" as a Young Child). The Peach Orchard: Mitsunori Isaki ("I" as a Boy), Mie Suzuki ("I's" Sister). The Blizzard: Akira Terao ("I"), Mieko Harada (The Snow Fairy), Masayuki Yui, Shu Nakajima, Sakae Kimura (Members of the Climbing Team). The Tunnel: Akira Terao ("I"), Yoshitaka Zushi (Private Noguchi). CROWS: Akira Terao ("I"), Martin Scorsese (Vincent Van Gogh). Mt. Fuji in Red: Akira Terao ("I"), Toshie Negishi (Child-Carrying Mother), Hisashi Igawa (Power Station Worker). The Weeping Demon: Akira Terao ("I"), Chosuke Ikariya (The Demon). Village of the Watermills: Akira Terao ("I"), Chishu Ryu (103-year-old Man).


What truths could dark shapes have scattered
And muted with smattering tears?
Lovewisps deny his absence,
Oblivious sleep draws near.

Part of Poetry in Motion at Poetry.com

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                               by Edgar Allan Poe

    Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
    My spirit not awakening, till the beam
    Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.
    Yes! tho' that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
    'Twere better than the cold reality
    Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,
    And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,
    A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.
    But should it be- that dream eternally
    Continuing- as dreams have been to me
    In my young boyhood- should it thus be given,
    'Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven.
    For I have revell'd, when the sun was bright
    I' the summer sky, in dreams of living light
    And loveliness,- have left my very heart
    In climes of my imagining, apart
    From mine own home, with beings that have been
    Of mine own thought- what more could I have seen?
    'Twas once- and only once- and the wild hour
    From my remembrance shall not pass- some power
    Or spell had bound me- 'twas the chilly wind
    Came o'er me in the night, and left behind
    Its image on my spirit- or the moon
    Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
    Too coldly- or the stars- howe'er it was
    That dream was as that night-wind- let it pass.

    I have been happy, tho' in a dream.
    I have been happy- and I love the theme:
    Dreams! in their vivid coloring of life,
    As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
    Of semblance with reality, which brings
    To the delirious eye, more lovely things
    Of Paradise and Love- and all our own!
    Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.
                                                        -THE END-

I've been thinking again. While that's usually dangerous, I've come up with an interesting thought.

Dreams are motion pictures.

Okay, before you declare me insane, put me in a strait jacket, haul me off to an asylum, and lock me in a rubber room where I'm forced to eat jello without utensils, hear me out.

Your mind is actually living two lives. In one life, you're who you believe yourself to be. You have a social security number, you pay your taxes, and you help your landlady carry out her garbage.

(Contemptuous Inhalation)

The other life is lived in a sort of studio. Throughout the day, you are gathering information that is stored within the depths of your mind. Some of it is recorded more vividly than the rest, while most is irrelevant fodder, and is discarded quickly. There are certain aspects to your day that snap into your mind that you may not be aware of, but your subconscious decides them to be excellent material for a script. Add this to your life's experiences, your hopes, your dreams, your very thoughts, and you have a wonderous canvas on which to paint.

So as you live your life during the day, your subconscious is tremendously busy. It's writing an elaborate script, pulling a cast from an infinite supply of performers, and building intricate sets that defy realism. Of course, your conscious mind is totally unaware of this process.

Until you fall asleep.

The mind is tricked. You drowse off into unconsciousness, and WHAM, you're plopped right into a scene without warning. You yourself become both character and audience in the production. While you act out your predetermined role, you are also viewing your actions and their results, observing every detail in its unrealistic splendor.

And of course, there are an innumerable amount of genre selections; Horror, Romance, Action, Adventure, Erotica. These films can be uncomfortable, arousing, exciting, or scary as hell - but since the scripts are tailored specifically for your particular level of intelligence, they're always meaningful and entertaining. And like a good film, the strong dreams are difficult to forget.

Every night is a new and unique production.

A young woman steps heavily off of an old school bus, trying to hold her breath against the cloud of dust, and the smell of unclean bodies. Disapproval seeming to engulf her small but sturdy frame as the bus drives away. She walks forward becoming herself once again, letting the metaphysical mask peel away with each step. It felt good to be herself after a long day of pretending and trying to live up to the expectations that modern society deemed normal. She finally lets herself feel the ache of having her long blond hair tight in a ponytail, the way her back muscles cramped to be straight under the load of an over laden backpack, and her feet itching to feel the rich earth beneath her soles.

She sighs, sitting down in the grassy ditch to the side of the road, shedding her backbreaking load before taking off her shoes and socks and rolling up her dusty, threadbare jeans. She arches, slowly and far, trying to stretch - laughing as the wind blows across her skin when her shirt lifted up. She sat for a moment, or perhaps an hour, unnoticed and unnoticing in the passage of time, staring, glazed eyes watching something, a dream perhaps, off in the distance.

Something awakens her with a start, and she looked quite perplexed at her surroundings for a moment before smiling down at her bare feet, pushing them down on the cool moist grass. She stood up. Slowly flexing the thick muscles of her tan legs, checking her balance and looking around in awe at the open field she stood on the edge of. Her wide wondering eyes seeming to take in everything as if for the first time. The small butterflies dancing lightly above the grass. The blue tailed lizards sunning themselves lazily on the large brown rocks that seemed to spot haphazardly around the field. The way the wind blew across the small hills making it look like waves of gold and green.

Her childish grin grew, and she started to run. Not to any place in particular, and yet to the ends of everywhere it seemed, shedding her stifling shirt to relish the feel of the growing breeze on her hot skin. The air-cooling and the day's sweat evaporating. The smell of disappointment, anger, shame, fear, and the thousands of cosmetics found in a high school being swept away.

The wind filling her lungs with clean air, filling her to the brim with an elite energy. One might call it an adrenaline rush, or a high, but if it was, as those things seem it was so much more. It felt bright like a sort of liquid light. Pouring into her body, filling her, pouring in through her skin and shooting through her veines, through her bones, soaking into her tired body till it over flowed out her mouth as she ran. Laughing and yelling with the pure unadulterated joy of running free through a grassy field. Running free of her restraint, of her conscience, of her shame. Free of the fear that someone would see her. That someone would judge her and condemn her. Shun her for her lack of humility, for her lack of shame at the scars and imperfection of her body. At the moment it didn’t matter, nothing did.

She thought of little as she spun in circles before falling, laughing and breathless, to the ground. Forgetting if only for a little while, that life was going to continue. That the next day the sun would rise, and she would have to walk down that dusty road and again board the bus back to the choking restrictions of an excepted social life.

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