Kurosawa's tribute to Van Gogh



Vincent van Gogh was born today in 1853. As an icon and artist, he needs no introduction, though his tragic life — the archetype of the tortured artist — often overshadows his unique vision and talent. One hopes this isn't what forms public opinion, yet it's hard to deny the emotional intensity that oozes from his works.

I spoke to a woman once who didn't like Van Gogh's work, finding them too bright and the movement within, unnerving. These are precisely the qualities I enjoy, and when I was young, I covered my room with van Gogh prints from a calendar and painted my walls the cornflower blue he favored.

A painting by and photo of the artist.
  • Wikipedia
  • A painting by and photo of the artist.

Lately, I've been absorbed in films by Akira Kurosawa. Though I've now just gotten around to seeing the classics: Rashomon, The Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, I've always loved his later film Dreams, a series of eight shorts based on Kurosawa's own dreams. The clip below is why. It's a beautiful and unnerving tribute to van Gogh (played by Martin Scorsese) in which Kurosawa (played by Akira Terao) runs through a series of van Gogh paintings, searching for the agitated artist.

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