Sunday, November 11, 2018


Our first Kurosawa film in color!

After Red Beard in 1965, Akira Kurosawa didn't direct for about 15 years later and showed that his classic example of samurai cinema still worked. Ran was a project Kurosawa worked on for the better part of a decade before shooting even began, essentially adapting King Lear with Japanese elements the same way with Throne Of Blood being Macbeth, and I must admit I have seen Macbeth (with Ian McKellen and Judi Dench to boot!) but I've never seen or read King Lear. So as the introduction to such a famous story for me, I was impressed by the results. The story focuses more on a family than a central character (kinda) where an aging lord passes on his kingdom to his three sons but they begin warring on each other and eventually on their father. What follows is family drama too extreme for television. The main selling point of this movie to me and many others is the visuals, for quite some time I have heard about Ran having frames of celluloid that is art, images comprised so expertly and beautifully that it has been praised more than I think any other Kurosawa film in terms of visuals. But the story is told so well, with actors who give it their all, and you are so invested and interested in the story that you don't even realize there is hardly any kind of music score. I think I heard maybe 3 orchestral pieces through this almost 3 hour film, and I didn't even notice until there was about 45 minutes left of movie. So it's purely focused on the performances and the events of the story, with some fantastic scenery to go with it. The characters are also done very well, but I think hands down is Kurogane who is basically the lord's advisor, and I can pinpoit it to two scenes, one I can talk about and one I can't. The first scene shows he has commitment to his superior and will abide their wishes while still giving counsel, but will not follow anyone blindly and has no problem announcing that. It is a delightful scene. And the other....well, let's just say he did exactly what I wanted him to do and it was glorious! I greatly enjoyed this movie and highly suggest you watch it if you have a 3 hour gap in your day and want something beautiful. And sadly, all good things must come to an end. We conclude this Kurosawa marathon with his final directorial film released after he passed away, Akira Kurosawa's Dreams.

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