vanessa’s review published on Letterboxd:
Letterboxd Season Challenge 2015-16 - Week 3 (Master of the East Week)
Ran is not only my first Kurosawa movie but also one of the few Japanese non-horror films I've seen. It is based on Shakespeare's King Lear as well as an old Japanese legend and tells the story of a ruler who divides his realm among his sons which ultimately leads to a war between them.
I have to say that, since it's the fist time I watched Ran, I sometimes found it quite difficult to follow the story and characters, simply because there's so much going on, and the cinematography captured my imagination in a way that I forgot to pay attention to everything else. While some scenes seem completely colourless apart from the flags and armours, some are so colourful that they seem surreal and dreamlike. There are hardy and close-ups and a lot of long shots, which is something I absolutely adore.
Another important stylistic device Kurosawa uses is that he combines two acting forms. Unlike the other actors, Tatsuya Nakadai, who plays the old ruler, uses the classical technique of the Nō theatre, which makes him seem even more ancient and contributes a lot to his character.
I'm definitely going to rewatch Ran sometime to pay more attention to the story and probably increase the rating.