Archive for September 17th, 2009

Ran (no 14)

ran 1

(Japan 1985 161m) DVD1/2

Chaos theory

p  Masato Hara, Serge Silberman  d  Akira Kurosawa  w  Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Ugoni, Masato Ide  ph  Takao Saito, Masaharu Ueda, Asaichi Nakai  ed  Yoshiro Muraki  m  Toru Takemitsu  art  Yoshiro Muraki, Shinobu Muraki  cos  Emi Wada

Tatsuya Nakadai (Lord Hidetora Ichimonji), Akira Terao (Taro), Jinpachi Nezu (Jiro), Daisuke Ryu (Saburo), Mieko Harada (Lady Kaede), Yoshiko Miyazaki (Lady Sué), Shinnosuke Ikehata (Kyoami), Masayuki Yui (Hirayama), Hitoshi Ueki (Fujimaki), Takeshi Namura (Tsurumaru), Hisashi Igawa (Kurogane),

Ran is an old man’s eulogy to himself, or rather to his career.  A long dreamt ambition or dream brought to life.  Many filmmakers have reworked Shakespeare, indeed Joe Mankiewicz did a gangster reworking of King Lear himself as House of Strangers (with Edward G.Robinson as the patriarch).  Kurosawa himself had already adapted Macbeth to Japan as Throne of Blood in 1957, and probably made the greatest version of that tale yet filmed, too.  There had been other straight versions of King Lear; one recalls Kozintsev’s widescreen monochrome epic from 1970 and two excellent TV versions in the years leading up to Ran, starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Hordern respectively.  But where the latter two were little more than filmed theatre, Ran is pure cinema, a radical version of the great tragedy which, though slow to set its scene, is so intrinsically detailed and gorgeously shot as to have you hooked from the start.  (more…)

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