"Ran" Is Released
Ran (乱?, "chaos" or "revolt") is a 1985 film written and directed by Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.
It is a jidaigeki (Japanese period drama) depicting the fall of Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadai), an aging Sengoku-era warlord who decides to abdicate as ruler in favor of his three sons. The story is based on legends of the daimyo Mōri Motonari, as well as on the Shakespearean tragedy King Lear.
Ran was Kurosawa's last epic. With a budget of $12 million, it was the most expensive Japanese film ever produced up to that time. After Ran, Kurosawa directed three other films before he died, but none on so large a scale. The film was hailed for its powerful images and use of color—costume designer Emi Wada won an Academy Award for Costume Design for her work on Ran. The distinctive Gustav Mahler-inspired film score, written by Tōru Takemitsu, plays in isolation with ambient sound muted.
Ran is Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa's reinterpretation of William Shakespeare's King Lear. The Lear counterpart is an elderly 16th-century warlord (Tatsuya Nakadai), who announces that he's about to divide his kingdom equally among his three sons. In his dotage, he falls prey to the false flattery of his treacherous sons (Akira Terao and Jinpachi Nezu), while banishing his youngest son (Daisuke Ryu), the only member of the family who loves him enough to tell him the unvarnished truth. Thanks to his foolish pride, his domain collapses under its own weight as the sons battle each other over total control. Kurosawa's first film in five years, Ran had been in the planning stages for twice that long; Kurosawa had storyboarded the project with a series of vivid color paintings that have since been published in book form in England. The battle scenes are staged with such brutal vigor that it's hard to imagine that the director was 75 years old at the time. This 160-minute historical epic won several international awards, but it was not a hit in Japan, and it would be five more years before Kurosawa would be able to finance another picture. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide