Kurosawa's "Ran"

Delivered with blunt horror, towering visuals and some of the most majestic sweep of filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s career, this “God is dead” take on King Lear is void of any sensation of honor — for in A.K.’s vision for this masterpiece, life is a ladder of predation and merciless opportunism. The weak are fair game to be taken, the pious ground to dust, and “victory” arrives via suckerpunches of gunfire and betrayal. A damnation portrait of existential horror in the feudal era, Ran is bathed in electric color, and covered in fine-detail flourishes: the symbolism of clouds, the subtle uses of natural light, the over-the-top costumes, and the landscape-porn avalanche of wide shots that crawl over poison-green mountains and scorched earth. At the center of this blood-red whirlwind: Tatsuya Nakadai, painting his heart black in a Noh-fueled rendition of “Lord Hidetora”, obliterating himself in freefall alongside his disintegrating kingdom. Impossibly cool stuff.
Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1985, 35mm, 160 min.

Watch the trailer for Kurosawa’s “Ran”!
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