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This is a fascinating film. It is based on eight short movies based on eight dreams. The main character that unites the stories is a person named, "I" presumably Akira Kurosawa himself.
In a movie as complex as this one, there are many themes. What struck me was the idea of transgression. In the dream "Sunshine through the Rain" and "Peach Orchard," there is a sense of breaking boundaries. The little boy take a forbidden peak at the foxes wedding, and his family chops down a cherry tree, which they should not have done.
This theme can be seen in other ways as well. In two of the nightmare sequence, there is a sense that people has transgressed nature through technology. In the dream, "Mount Fuji in Red" there is a nuclear meltdown and the radiation will kill the people no matter what they do. A similar message is given in the dream, "Weeping Demon," where the setting is a post-apocalyptic world. Technology has caused more harm than good.
Connected with this theme is the idea of going back to nature and shedding technology. The final dream "Village of the Watermills" is about a group of people who have embraced a simpler lifestyle.
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