These days, green screen, CGI, and extensive post-production work is all you need to create something “epic,” but when Akira Kurosawa made “Ran,” there were few computers in sight. Using 1,400 extras, 200 horses, shooting on location at Mount Aso, using ancient Japanese castles, and the biggest budget of his career, the director created a film that truly earns the designation “epic,” and now it’s returning to the big screen where it deserves to be seen.
“Ran” is hitting the big screen in the U.S. and U.K., in a newly restored 4K version that was made from the original negative. Kurosawa’s take on the tale of Shakespeare‘s “King Lear,” through the lens of Japan’s 16th century civil wars, is going to look fantastic. Here’s the official synopsis:
The final masterpiece from legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, RAN, which translates as ‘turmoil’, is Kurosawa’s meditation on Shakespeare’s King Lear crossed with the history of Japan’s 16th century Civil Wars and the legend of Morikawa, a feudal warlord with three sons.
Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadai – Yojimbo, Kagemusha) is an aging warlord who, after spending his life consolidating his empire, decides to abdicate and divide his kingdom amongst his three sons, Taro (Akira Terao – Letter from the Mountain, Dreams), Jiro (Jinpachi Nezu – The Man in White, Red Shadow: Akakage) and Saburo (Daisuke Ryû – Tono monogatari, Gojo reisenki: Gojoe). When Hidetora’s youngest son Saburo voices concerns about the wisdom of his father’s plan, claiming that treachery within the family will be inevitable, Hidetora mistakes these comments for a threat and banishes him. This allows Taro and Jiro to take the reigns of power unopposed, leading to a brutal and bloody struggle to win absolute power.