"makes for a truly thought-provoking and memorable experience, with each film being lit up by some wonderful cinematography and some memorable set-pieces"

Made when the legendary director was approaching his 80th year, Dreams is one of Akira Kurosawa’s last films and is re-released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 21st November.

A vignette of shorts comprise the overarching whole and to that end, Dreams is a gift that keeps on giving – eight Kurosawa films for the price of one is a quite remarkable bargain in any film lover’s book.

Of course there are themes that occur throughout, as Kurosawa brings his own night-time visions to life to examine the mysticisms of the world we inhabit, mankind’s connection to nature and the way art, life, visions, dreams, death, humanity and folklore are all intertwined. It really is a wonderful tumble down the proverbial rabbit-hole into a wonderland of Kurosawa’s own making.

‘Sunshine through the rain’, the opening tale of a young boy who interrupts a foxes wedding procession, beautifully blurs the lines between reality and dreams much in the same way cinema does, before ‘The Peach Orchard’ examines the tale of the same boy encountering the spirits of the peach trees that were cut down by man. It involves a magnificent dance sequence and examines mankind’s devouring of nature quite beautifully.

‘The Blizzard’ is a nigh-on silent section with an other-worldly force seeming to guide a group of lost explorers through the titular snow storm when all hope seems lost. ‘The Tunnel’ is a haunting ghost story about soldiers sent to their death encountering the serving general who was responsible. The recurring historical theme of young men blindly following orders to their demise is all too familiar throughout human history.

‘Crows’ is notable for Martin Scorsese appearing as Vincent Van Gogh and the manner in which Van Gogh’s paintings literally become the landscape is one of the film’s many joys.

‘Mount Fuji In Red’ has some somewhat dated effects (that are even more apparent on the restored disc) but is a true nightmare of a nuclear meltdown, before ‘The Weeping Demon’ works as something of a sequel, examining how man may struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world that he himself has created.

Yet despite many of the warnings and examination of mankind’s darker nature, we end of the uplifting ‘The Village of the Water Mills’, which finds beauty in the simple things and investigates how the advancement of technology has replaced our humane need for what is truly important and what is truly beautiful about the world we inhabit. It’s like one thematic element of Andrei Takovsky’s The Sacrifice fused with the uplifting message of Sam Mendes American Beauty.

It all makes for a truly thought-provoking and memorable experience, with each film being lit up by some wonderful cinematography and some memorable set-pieces. Nearly thirty years after it was made, its aesthetic is still impressive, its themes still thought-provoking and its message is still relevant. Maybe even more so. Much like the world the film examines, films such as this need to be remembered, discussed and treasured for future generations.