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
Akira Kurosawa referred to his previous film, Kagemusha (1980), as a "dress rehearsal" for this film. He spent ten years storyboarding every shot in the film as paintings. The resulting collection of images was published with the screenplay. See more »
During the battle at the third castle, there is a sequence where Hidetora emerges from the castle at the top of a flight of stairs and confronts enemy soldiers ascending the stairs. When he retreats, his bodyguards suddenly appear and retreat with him, even though they were not present moments earlier. See more »
A serpent's egg is white and pure. A bird's is speckled and soiled.
This is a castle... Here's a wall.
The bird left the speckled egg for the white.
The egg cracks; out comes a snake.
Empty space above the wall. Why?
The bird is gobbled by the snake.
Where am I? Who am I?
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Ran is probably cinema's greatest rendition of a Shakespearean Epic, ironically coming from an oriental film-maker. Adapted by Kurosawa from Shakespeare's King Lear, Ran undoubtedly features amongst the best works of the master auteur. It captures with sheer vividness and surreal resplendence, the true essence of human struggle for survival, highlighting the cruelties associated with life. Ran is strictly indicative of the sole consistency of life i.e. change, an attribute that not only makes the humans vulnerable but also gives them the hope to rise after a fall.
The story focuses on a senile warlord, who owing to his senescence is rapidly losing his strength and his ferocious grandeur that he had earned through years of relentless savagery and ruthless slaughter, ergo he renounces to his three sons, hoping them to establish a sort of a triumvirate with the eldest son having a slight edge. His two elder sons accept the proposal with rapturous glee, but his youngest son seems bemused and questions the wits of the patriarch for taking the untimely decision. Though arrantly annoyed by his son's audacious defiance, he tries to console him, only to find him inconsolable. Deeply hurt by his son's impertinence and censure, he reluctantly banishes him and enthrones the two elder sons. The rest is rather worth a watch than a read, for there is nothing that can better the sumptuous elegance of Ran.
The brilliantly captured scenes are breathtaking to say the least, especially the war scene that depicts fate casting the final blow to the ruthless reign of the warlord. The brutality and the bloodshed depicted in the very scene can make even a cold-blooded appear jittery. Ran portrays the poetic justice in such a relentless and abominable fashion that one can't help but sympathize with the narcissistic warlord, who spent his life arrogating and annihilating the innocent souls. The plaintive score gives the movie a much desired tone, a mood that not only supports its melancholic backdrop, but also immensely adds to its poignant beauty. The final scene featuring the blind boy, deeply clutched by his haplessness and gross solitude, though doesn't feature an utterance of even a single syllable, the playback of the mystical flute makes the scene haunting as well as mesmerising and worth a thousand words. Ran is a classic example of Kurosawa's brilliance and perhaps a consummation of his apotheosis.
A must watch for eclectic viewers and admirers of pristine cinema. Highly recommended: 10/10.
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