When Kurosawa, aged 84, wanted to make a film on his dreams, people knew it was going to be a masterpiece. The prospect of sitting and being two hours’ worth of a person’s dreams is, on the face of it, not a very pleasing one. One’s dreams properly interest only oneself. Making it worthy is indeed a tough task, which none other than Kurosawa could have accomplished. Dreams, was intended to be Kurosawa’s last film, although he made two more films later.
Dreams was the first film that Kurosawa wrote all by himself. Here, ordinary questions of likelihood do not apply. Analyzing the intention, composition or punctuation becomes difficult, with the ever changing story and style. One moment, the young Kurosawa is shown to speak French. Well, these are all dreams, so all things are possible. The Dreams are complex, often disillusioning. But every statement Kurosawa in the film is true. One argues not with the statement, but with the unconventional way in which they are presented. Dreams, unlike his other films has a lessening concern for the realist style of film making, it has a tendency to tell rather than to show, an inclination to moralize. Dreams is intended to be a film personal to Kurosawa, which eventually goes beyond, and asks poses some very intriguing philosophical questions on the very existence of mankind.
Dreams leaves behind a residue of beauty. There is a slowness in everything, in the amount of respect intended and in the enormous and brazen sincerity of the work. That Dreams is an uneven and unusual film from Kurosawa, at the same time, there is intention-wise nothing in it that Kurosawa’s earlier films have not given us. Dreams is, in many sense, a summation, a summary of the cinematic and philosophic life of Kurosawa. It is indeed the best conclusive film a director could have accomplished.