Ran ★★★★½

Film Number 5 in Blair's March Around the World, 2021

Country: Japan/France

Of course Ran is a film I've seen before... but that run was before Letterboxd was ever a glimmer in anyone's eye. This month seemed like the right time to see what isn't my favorite or best Kurosawa, but is probably his last great motion picture, like most people say it is.

Akira must have liked Shakespeare; Throne of Blood was his version of Macbeth, The Bad Sleep Well was inspired by Hamlet and Ran is a samurai-era Japan take on King Lear. I will operate under the assumption that many are familiar with it whether it be other film adaptations or even high school English class. Thus, no time needs to be spent explaining how it's someone who relinquishes power to his children and due to various machinations, this decision becomes tragic. It did not take too much in the way of changes to make it fit to this era; however, the changes that WERE made helped made some of Lear's subtleties more pronounced, to this movie's benefit.

Besides a strong story with universal themes that have made it a favorite on stage & screen, it of course looked tremendous in how it was framed and shot. Both the score from Toru Takemitsu and the Emi Wada costumes are aces; in fact, the latter won an Academy Award for it. The movie was colorful (literally, at times) and with a strong cast & some graphic moments, it was not a long sit despite being over 2 ½ hours long and featuring long static shots throughout. As people seem to like my shorter reviews & many others have waxed poetic about this better than I could, Ran is a must-see motion picture for people like us.

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