There is more in dreams

Review of Dreams (1990)

Review of Dreams (1990) movie, by Stefan Stenudd


This movie seems as if Akira Kurosawa intended it to be his last. It has an air of testament, of final words. In a number of separate episodes, he takes us through scenes of increasing darkness, and lands in one of peace and light. Surely, he intended the obvious likeness to Dante's Divine Comedy.

       Then, Kurosawa's Paradise is one of minimal splendor, a return to agricultural simplicity, man in harmony with nature. It's the same kind of ideal as expressed in the last verse of the Chinese book Tao The Ching. I have always suspected that ideal to be little more than a romantic illusion — a sweet dream, but boring to actually live in.

       The previous episodes are much more intense and fascinating, to the extent where one has to wonder if, perchance, Kurosawa would not have preferred to end up in one of them, rather than the last one — in spite of the torment they contain.

       Anyway, the film starts and ends with procession — the first a wedding, the last a funeral. In Kurosawa's Dreams, the former is threatening, and the latter joyous. I wonder why there is no birth. There are children, though, but they are in no way spared from the sorrows of the world. Sadly, that is true to life.

       Less realistic is the scarce presence of women. The most prominent female character is a sort of Snow Queen, trying to kill some men lost in the mountains. "The snow is warm, the ice is hot," she says to one of them, to make him sleep. True, indeed — but a harmful warmth, a deadly heat. Still, it cannot compare to the genocide heat produced by men, later on in the movie.

       These are dreams? If so, they are surprisingly barren. Not the likes of Dante's — or, I dare say, anyone else's. Dreams are complex things, and when studied closely, they open up like Pandora's box. Kurosawa's episodes are not dreams, in that sense, but mere silhouettes of them. For dreams to be revealed, they must be entered. Kurosawa seems to have kept them on a distance, taming them with his waking state.

       Perhaps he had found that his dreams could not compare to what he had accomplished in his many great movies.

Stefan Stenudd
18 January 2003


More Reviews



Ever Young

Ever Young. Supernatural fiction by Stefan Stenudd. Supernatural fiction
I have lots of opinions on storytelling, since that is also my own profession. Here is a story of mine:

       Caroline witnesses the agonizing death of her twin brother, when they are no more than 15 years old. Horrified, she feels that nobody should ever have to die. Then she discovers a hidden visitor in her home, who has the ability to live forever without aging at all. And this ability can be transmitted. But she finds that there are grisly downsides to such longevity. Click the image to see the book at Amazon (paid link).



About Cookies


My Other Websites


CREATION MYTHS
Myths in general and myths of creation in particular.

TAOISM
The wisdom of Taoism and the Tao Te Ching, its ancient source.

LIFE ENERGY
An encyclopedia of life energy concepts around the world.

QI ENERGY EXERCISES
Qi (also spelled chi or ki) explained, with exercises to increase it.

I CHING
The ancient Chinese system of divination and free online reading.

TAROT
Tarot card meanings in divination and a free online spread.

ASTROLOGY
The complete horoscope chart and how to read it.

MY AMAZON PAGE

MY YOUTUBE AIKIDO

MY YOUTUBE ART

MY FACEBOOK

MY INSTAGRAM

MY TWITTER

STENUDD PÅ SVENSKA





About me
I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, an historian of ideas and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.