In which I attempt to watch every film in The Criterion Collection and end up watching a lot that aren't. Click here for the rating system.



"Shakespeare in Japan"

Based on Shakespeare's King Lear, Ran (which means "chaos") chronicles the fall of a ruling Japanese family in the Tokagawa period. It was released in 1985. The last seven films of Kurosawa's life (including this one) came with difficulty. Funding was low and mounting a full-scale feature was not offered on a silver plate as it had been in Kurosawa's heyday. This, perhaps, makes the story of a dethroned monarch seem that much more poignant. The beauty of the million dollar burning set is not lost on those who can imagine the courage needed to construct such a set and then burn it down in one take (not to mention tha pressure on the lead actor to get the scene right!). The three sons and their armies are cleverly color-coded throughout the film for easy identification. The battle sequences in this film are among some of Kurosawa's finest. What that man couldn't do with an army of extras isn't worth talking about. 160 minutes of film genius.

Favorite Moments: Overthrow of the third castle, Lady Kaede's interview with Jiro.


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