Blu-ray, DVD Release: Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Nov. 15, 2016
Price: DVD $22.99, Blu-ray $27.99
Studio: Criterion


Unfolding in a series of eight mythic vignettes, Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams, a late work by the legendary Japanese master (Seven Samurai), was inspired by the beloved director’s own nighttime visions, along with stories from Japanese folklore.

akirakurosawasdreams1In a visually sumptuous journey through Kurosawa’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. It’s all 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.

Presented in Japanese and English with English subtitles and featuring a cover painting by Kurosawa himself, Criterion’s Blu-ray and DVD editions of the 1990 fantasy-drama contain the following:

  • 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
  • A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri and Kurosawa’s script for a never-filmed ninth dream, introduced by Nogami
  • New English subtitle translation
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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.