Ran ★★★★★

I think this is actually BETTER than King Lear. Apparently Kurosawa started the script without Lear in mind, basing it on the legend of a Japanese warlord who gave his sons the "one arrow is weak, three arrows are strong" lecture. Kurosawa reasoned that you could break three arrows with enough strength - so what if the sons were treacherous and greedy?

From that idea sprang this quite extraordinary epic. It's almost his last film, and lots of critics have been keen to play up the autobiographical parallels between the once great warlord usurped by his sons, and the pioneer of Japanese cinema being left behind by more modern tastes.

I HIGHLY recommend this film. It's pretty long, but is properly epic, has superb battle scenes, and has exactly the kind of insane attention to detail and scope of my favourite films (Heaven's Gate, Lawrence of Arabia etc.).

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