In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
Japanese warlord Hidetori Ichimonji decides the time has come to retire and divide his fiefdom among his three sons. His eldest and middle sons - Taro and Jiro - agree with his decision and promise to support him for his remaining days. The youngest son Saburo disagrees with all of them arguing that there is little likelihood the three brothers will remain united. Insulted by his son's brashness, the warlord banishes Saburo. As the warlord begins his retirement, he quickly realizes that his two eldest sons selfish and have no intention of keeping their promises. It leads to war and only banished Saburo can possibly save him. Written by
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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