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Ran-Movie Review 10/11/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Drama, Epic, Japanese language film, Movies.

Ran (Japanese) 1985
The Japanese character for the film’s title means “Chaos” or “Revolt.”

Winner, Best Foreign Language Film, BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai)
Starring Tatsuya Nakadai as Lord Hidetora


In a story inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear as well as Japanese legends, famed director Kurosawa sets his epic film in the tumultuous and power-hungry warlord world of 16th century Japan. Lord Hidetora’s family has three sons. When the father decides to step aside and put each son in control of one of his castles, greed and jealousy tears the family apart. As Hidetora descends into madness, destruction ensues throughout his kingdom.

From conception to finished product, this film, which was one of Kurosawa’s last, was ten years in the making. Amidst all the plotting and treachery that was going on, I found that of Lady Kaede (played by Mieko Harada) especially malicious, starting with her vengeful seduction of eldest son Taro.
The many battle scenes are elaborate and bloody, the eventual burning of the third castle realistic (it was built on location solely for that purpose).

Although nominated for several awards at the time of its release, for various reasons the film won few. It has since received critical acclaim as one of Kurosawa’s best.

Please note that the DVD from the Criterion Collection receives better reviews than other versions in terms of quality of transfer from the original film. The special edition comes with a second disc containing interviews and documentaries, including a very informative selection on the making of Ran.

160 min. Rated R. Violence.

Criterion Collection


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