Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams

Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams

Unfolding in a series of eight mythic vignettes, this late work by Akira Kurosawa was inspired by the beloved director’s own nighttime visions, along with stories from Japanese folklore. In a visually sumptuous journey through the master’s imagination, tales of childlike wonder give way to apocalyptic apparitions: a young boy stumbles on a fox wedding in a forest; a soldier confronts the ghosts of the war dead; a power plant meltdown smothers a seaside landscape in radioactive fumes. Interspersed with reflections on the redemptive power of creation, including a richly textured tribute to Vincent van Gogh (who is played by Martin Scorsese), Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams is both a showcase for its maker’s artistry at its most unbridled and a deeply personal lament for a world at the mercy of human ignorance.

Film Info

  • Akira Kurosawa
  • Japan
  • 1990
  • 120 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.85:1
  • Japanese
  • Spine #842

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Shoji Ueda, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New audio commentary featuring film scholar Stephen Prince
  • Making of “Dreams” (1990), a 150-minute documentary shot on set and directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi
  • New interview with production manager Teruyo Nogami
  • New interview with assistant director Takashi Koizumi
  • Kurosawa’s Way (2011), a fifty-minute documentary by Kurosawa’s longtime translator Catherine Cadou, featuring interviews with filmmakers Bernardo Bertolucci, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Martin Scorsese, Hayao Miyazaki, and others
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri and Kurosawa’s script for a never-filmed ninth dream, introduced by Nogami
    Cover painting by Akira Kurosawa

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Shoji Ueda, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New audio commentary featuring film scholar Stephen Prince
  • Making of “Dreams” (1990), a 150-minute documentary shot on set and directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi
  • New interview with production manager Teruyo Nogami
  • New interview with assistant director Takashi Koizumi
  • Kurosawa’s Way (2011), a fifty-minute documentary by Kurosawa’s longtime translator Catherine Cadou, featuring interviews with filmmakers Bernardo Bertolucci, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Martin Scorsese, Hayao Miyazaki, and others
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri and Kurosawa’s script for a never-filmed ninth dream, introduced by Nogami
    Cover painting by Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams
Cast
Akira Terao
“I”
Mitsuko Baisho
Mother
Mieko Harada
Snow Woman
Toshie Negishi
Woman carrying a child (“Mount Fuji in Red”)
Mitsunori Isaki
“I” as an adolescent (“The Peach Orchard”)
Toshihiko Nakano
“I” as a young boy (“Sunshine Through the Rain”)
Yoshitaka Zushi
Private Noguchi (“The Tunnel”)
Hisashi Igawa
Power plant worker (“Mount Fuji in Red”)
Chosuke Ikariya
Weeping demon
Chishu Ryu
Old man (“The Village of the Water Mills”)
Martin Scorsese
Vincent van Gogh
Kiku-no Kai Dancers
Fox wedding dancers
Misato Tate
Peach Fairy
Mieko Suzuki
Sister (“The Peach Orchard”)
Masayuki Yui
Member of the climbing team (“The Blizzard”)
Shu Nakajima
Member of the climbing team (“The Blizzard”)
Sakae Kimura
Member of the climbing team (“The Blizzard”)
Tessho Yamashita
Second lieutenant
Members of the 20-ki No Kai
Third platoon
Credits
Director
Akira Kurosawa
Written by
Akira Kurosawa
Produced by
Hisao Kurosawa
Produced by
Mike Y. Inoue
Executive producer
Steven Spielberg
Creative consultant
Ishiro Honda
Production manager
Teruyo Nogami
Cinematography by
Takao Saito
Cinematography by
Shoji Ueda
Art direction by
Yoshiro Muraki
Art direction by
Akira Sakuragi
Production design by
Yoshiro Muraki
Production design by
Akira Sakuragi
Costume design by
Emi Wada
Music by
Shinichiro Ikebe
Film editing by
Tome Minami
Visual effects by
Industrial Light and Magic
“Sun Shining Through the Rain” fox parade choreographed by
Michiyo Hata

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Akira Kurosawa

Writer, Director

Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa

Arguably the most celebrated Japanese filmmaker of all time, Akira Kurosawa had a career that spanned from the Second World War to the early nineties and that stands as a monument of artistic, entertainment, and personal achievement. His best-known films remain his samurai epics Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, but his intimate dramas, such as Ikiru and High and Low, are just as searing. The first serious phase of Kurosawa’s career came during the postwar era, with Drunken Angel and Stray Dog, gritty dramas about people on the margins of society that featured the first notable appearances by Toshiro Mifune, the director’s longtime leading man. Kurosawa would subsequently gain international fame with Rashomon, a breakthrough in nonlinear narrative and sumptuous visuals. Following a personal breakdown in the late sixties, Kurosawa rebounded by expanding his dark brand of humanism into new stylistic territory, with films such as Kagemusha and Ran, visionary, color, epic ruminations on modern man and nature.