Japanese film with poison gas and windmills?
July 4, 2012 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Japanese film...colored clouds of poison gas...a village of windmills...what movie am I half-remembering?

When I was a child I saw part of a movie on television and the images have haunted me ever since. Googling the recollected details hasn't produced a title. Pretty sure it was a Japanese film. Here's what I remember:

- It seemed to be comprised of a series of vignettes. Each segment was a self-contained story, but the connecting thread was a protagonist who appeared in every sequence. This character was a skinny man, in fact I remember him looking like a Japanese version of Gilligan, red-shirt and all.

- In the first sequence I remember three people (a young woman, an older man, and the main character) are standing on a rocky cliff ledge overlooking the sea. They seem frantic and it develops that they have fled a chemical weapons attack. Clouds of smoke of different colors begin drifting toward them. The older man explains that the gases are colored according to their effects...e.g., the green gas causes monsterism, the blue gas suffocates, etc. As they stand with their backs to the sea watching the clouds of gas move closer there is a splash...the woman has jumped into the sea. The older man remarks that knowing the effects of each gas based on the color is worse than not knowing. He jumps off the cliff, leaving just the Gilligan character. Fade to black.

- The other segment I remember begins with the Gilligan character walking into like a village of windmills...that's what I recall: windmills everywhere. He interacts with the people there, lots of happy children. I remember feeling jarred by the stark tonal differences between the two sequences.

That's all I remember. Any ideas about what this movie may be are greatly appreciated!
posted by mediated self to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Dreams
posted by teekat at 10:17 AM on July 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Seconding Teekat. Eerie series of short vignettes. The colored clouds are supposed to be radioactivity from failed power plants. How oddly prescient.
posted by Mercaptan at 10:20 AM on July 4, 2012

We must be about the same age, since I also saw it on TV as a kid. Quite an experience!
posted by teekat at 10:23 AM on July 4, 2012

Response by poster: That's definitely it. And a Kurosawa film, no less. Thank you! I look forward to watching this again soon.
posted by mediated self at 10:24 AM on July 4, 2012

The vignettes are a series of dream, btw.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:28 AM on July 4, 2012

Response by poster: I see I didn't get all the details right (it's a nuclear power plant explosion, not a chemical attack, and a village of watermills, not windmills, etc.) but it seems appropriate...like trying to pin down the details of a half-remembered dream after waking.
posted by mediated self at 10:36 AM on July 4, 2012

This is one of my favorite films, if not my absolute favorite film. I am amazed that you saw it on television!
posted by Slothrop at 10:39 AM on July 4, 2012

The chemical weapons scene you describe is one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen in film, especially since I'd had very similar dreams in the year or so prior to viewing Kurosawa's film.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:10 AM on July 4, 2012

The Foxes wedding procession and the blossoming peach orchard are some of the finest moments on film, can never see them too many times.
Most of the rest of Dreams, I tend to skip over.
posted by Abinadab at 5:59 PM on July 4, 2012

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