45 – Ran

Welcome to The Best Movies I’ve Never Seen! This is the part of the blog where I work my way through 100 films I’ve never seen that are generally considered to be great. You’re invited to watch along with me if you can find a copy or find it streaming. So grab some popcorn and let’s get started!

Ran

1985

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Quick synopsis… Legendary Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa sets Shakespeare’s classic tragedy “King Lear” against a samurai backdrop, re-envisioning the timeless story through the eyes of a warlord who transfers his kingdom to his eldest son.

I believe this is the first Kurosawa film that I’ve reached on this list. I know it won’t be the last.

Aside from never having seen this film before, I’ve also never seen or read King Lear, upon which Ran is based. And I’d be lying if I said I’ve been able to follow everything to the letter.

Honestly, I’m not sure how faithful an adaptation Ran is concerning King Lear. But I can say that this movie is bloody and violent and kind of depressing when all is said and done. I’ll say this, it is beautifully shot and the costumes are incredibly vibrant. Not knowing much about Japanese history, I can only assume that the wardrobe is accurate to the time period. After looking up some info about the movie, I know the film received an Academy Award for Best Costume Design. Ran also provided Kurosawa with his only Best Director nomination, which kind of blows my mind considering what a legend he is in international cinema.

Sure, I had hard time following every single thing that was happening. Chalk that up to my lack of understanding of the Japanese language and not always keeping up with every subtitle that hit the screen. But I’d still recommend it for anyone who is good with foreign language films and is okay to keep up with the subtitles. Also, you have to have a stomach for the war and violence… so, yeah, there’s that, too.

Having now seen Ran, it currently ranks at number 1,323 out of 2,295 movies on my personal Flickchart list.

Have you ever seen Ran? What do you think of the movie? Where does it rank for you among Akira Kurosawa’s work? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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