7 October 2013


Ran 1985
  • Director: Akira Kurosawa
  • Based on Shakespeare’s King Lear
  • Cast: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryô. Mieko Harada,  Mansai Nomura
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in: None of them
  • Why bought: Shakespeare
  • Seen:  October 5, 2013 as second in the King Lear film sessions.

      A visual tour-de-force that time and again astonishes the eye with color, starkness and sweeping magnificent landscapes, this masterpiece still doesn’t do much for me.  Half the time I have no idea what’s going on and most of that time I don’t really care.  Old King Lear, or Lord Hiditora Ichimonji as his name is here, is interesting to watch but the other characters don’t move me. Well, the blind kid does, a bit.
I think it’s because I haven’t learned to appreciate the stylized acting here that I imagine is akin to the Noh theater tradition.
There is much that is impressive but little that is gripping. There is an awful lot of pounding hooves of lots of galloping horses. There are a lot of gravelly voiced soldiers and a lot of blood.
Oh yes, the Lear connection.  It starts out clear enough except that he’s dividing his kingdom up among son instead of daughters.  Many images parallel the original but this turns into a war film with lots of battles, which Lear doesn’t have.
It’s worth watching and deserves a second viewing too but I have no burning need to do it again soon.
2½  * of 5

1 comment:

  1. I agree for the most part though the scenery and action are top-rank and the old king is the toughest ever. It was hard to follow the subtitles.