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Kurosawa's Ran

I finished Kristin Lavransdatter last week and have a half-written post about it, but have had unexpected demands on my time this week and haven't been able to finish it. In the meantime, just a quick note about this film.

What a magnificent epic! I really didn't know what to expect. I only knew that it's  considered one of Kurosawa's most important works, and that its plot is based loosely on King Lear. According to Wikipedia, Kurosawa was already working on the story when he first encountered Lear, and that for him it originated with a Japanese story about a king who had three sons. In any case there are a lot of clear parallels with Lear, but it's not simply a retelling of the story in a medieval Japanese setting. 

I'll restrain myself from going further, and also from gushing, and just say that if you like Kurosawa's work at all and haven't seen this one, you must. Apparently he had a huge budget to work with, and obviously a great deal of money and time went into it, as it features several large and complex battle scenes. Among other things it's an enthralling visual spectacle, not only in the big scenes but in smaller and intimate ones as well. 

The title, by the way, puzzled me a bit, as it isn't the name of any character. Again according to Wikipedia:

The complex and variant etymology for the word Ran used as the title has been variously translated as "chaos", "rebellion", or "revolt"; or to mean "disturbed" or "confused".

Theater poster, from Wikimedia: Fair Use, Link


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Glad you liked it! I think you can understand why it's been a favorite of mine since I first saw it back when it came out.

That was the mid-'80s. So does that mean you saw it in a theater? That would be quite an experience.

The very artificial style of much of it, such as the portrayal of Hidetora (both appearance and manner), takes a bit of adjusting. I can imagine some people finding it too much. But if you can accept it, it's very grand.

Yes, I saw it in the theater with my wife-to-be and another couple, the male of which was a big Kurosawa fan. Up to that point I had only seen Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood. I remember finding it pretty overwhelming.

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