Following World War II, a retired professor approaching his autumn years finds his quality of life drastically reduced in war-torn Tokyo. Denying despair, he pursues writing and celebrates his birthday with his adoring students.
A story of greed, a lust for power, and ultimate revenge. The Great Lord Hidetora Ichimonji has decided to step aside to make room for the younger blood of his three sons, Taro, Jiro, and Saburo, the Lord's only wish now being to live out his years as an honored guest in the castle of each of his sons in turn. While the older two sons flatter their father, the youngest son attempts to warn him of the folly of expecting the three sons to remain united; enraged at the younger son's attempt to point out the danger, the father banishes him. True to the younger son's warning, however, the oldest Son soon conspires with the second son to strip The Great Lord of everything, even his title. Written by
The film used approximately 1400 extras and 200 horses. 1400 suits of armor (designed by Akira Kurosawa himself) were fabricated and a number of the horses had to be imported from the United States. Kurosawa used the extras and horses so efficiently that when the film was ready for premiere, newspapers in Japan were reporting that thousands of extras and horses were used to stage the battles. See more »
During the siege on the third castle, the corpse of one of Hidetora's guards suddenly shuts his eyes just before as a volley of arrows flies past him. See more »
With RAN (1985) Akira Kurosawa seems to be setting up a macarbe trap. The first section of the film is slow, following an aging warlord (Tatsuya Nakadai's best acting in a long wonderous career.) dividing his castles amongst his unsavory sons. The action is slow, people talk in low tones, it's almost at snail's pace. But then, a battle scene like nothing you ever seen before explodes on the screen. The film takes a 180 degree turn and becomes more and more sinister, more compelling. You can't look away.
Akira Kurosawa (1910-1997) was responsible for elevating Japanese cinema to a front-runner in world cinema. Two of his films, RASHOMON and SEVEN SAMURAI were made in less than ten years after World War II. These films put a spotlight on Japanese culture. Some of his later films, THE HIDDEN FORTRESS, THE BAD SLEEP WELL, YOJIMBO and HIGH AND LOW became the basis for a good percentage of the major American films produced after 1960.
If you sit down to see RAN, be prepared for a jaw-dropping experience.
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