Following World War II, a retired professor approaching his autumn years finds his quality of life drastically reduced in war-torn Tokyo. Denying despair, he pursues writing and celebrates his birthday with his adoring students.
In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
This is essentially eight separate short films, though with some overlaps in terms of characters and thematic material - chiefly that of man's relationship with his environment. 'Sunshine Through The Rain': a young boy is told not to go out on the day when both weather conditions occur, because that's when the foxes hold their wedding procession, which could have fatal consequences for those who witness it. 'The Peach Orchard': the same young boy encounters the spirits of the peach trees that have been cut down by heartless humans. 'The Blizzard': a team of mountaineers are saved from a blizzard by spiritual intervention. 'The Tunnel': a man encounters the ghosts of an army platoon, whose deaths he was responsible for. 'Crows': an art student encounters 'Vincent Van Gogh' and enters the world of his paintings. 'Mount Fuji in Red': nuclear meltdown threatens the devastation of Japan. 'The Weeping Demon': a portrait of a post-nuclear world populated by human mutations. 'Village of the ...Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
Kurosawa had trouble getting financing from studios in Japan, blaming much on the political nature of his criticism of nuclear power in the film. He sent a copy of his script to Steven Spielberg, who liked it, and helped get a deal for the film through Warner Bros. See more »
I am not inclined to post my opinion on web pages. In fact, this is the first time that I feel compelled to let my words be heard on the web. However, having read from other users that "Yume" is "a waste of time" and "too personal" to be enjoyed, I was so disappointed that I felt the right time to speak up had come.
I am the first one to agree that this is not a film for everyone. It is actually far from that. Alas, in this world where the vastest majority of people feel that the necessary and sufficient condition for a film to be good is to have as much special effects as possible, "Yume" sadly faces no other fate than to be overlooked by almost everybody.
It is those few people that might consider watching this film that have the opportunity to appreciate its full greatness. There are still many hurdles on the way, though. For many Western people, including myself, the fact that "Yume" orbits around Japanese legends is a big obstacle to overcome, as we are not well acquainted with their meaning. I am convinced that Kurosawa's "Dreams" conceal much of their true objective to us who are not familiar enough with the Japanese culture.
But my advice is: forget these problems. There are thousands of other details to enjoy. From just a cinematographic point of view, Kurosawa's mastery of colour is unrivaled, and a sound reason to watch this film, yet not the only one by far. The true value of "Yume", in my opinion, is the use of the parabolas presented disguised as dreams to teach us a way of life. The absurdity of war. The beauty of nature. The need to preserve our environment. In summary: a praise to life. And yet, Kurosawa being old himself when he filmed his "Dreams", looks at death and presents it as the last station of a wonderful journey. Carpe diem, yes, but not to the point of being scared. Life will follow its course as does the river at the end of the movie, with or without us being here to enjoy it. Just be thankful for the small things in life; they are the most important. Enjoy them while you can and you will leave this existence in peace with yourself.
"Yume" is one of these small, humble things, so humble that it can be overlooked by many. It would be a waste. Don't let this happen to you. You would miss a true masterpiece. You would miss Kurosawa's way of life.
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