****NOMINATED FOR 4 OSCARS****
Put simply, Ran is a cinematic masterpiece. This is a truly epic film! Akira Kurosawa is a directing genius!
Akira Kurosawa trained as a painter, and the story goes that all his story-boards are completed as full paintings, and it can be said that his films do indeed look like paintings, scene after scene, the camera placement is perfect and artistic. Ran received 4 Oscar Nominations in the Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Costume Design, of which it won only 1, Best Costume Design. So it goes with out saying that the costumes for this film are exquisite.
The story for this film is truly grand, and Shakespearian in scope. With a budget of $12 Million it was the most expensive Japanese film for it’s time. Trust no other than Akira Kurosawa to deliver! It’s a story about family feud, rebellion and uprising. There are many layers of depth to this film, philosophically and religiously. The character of warlord Hidetora is most intriguing, and his character’s development is a joyous pain to watch. With out spoiling it, this film is tragic and although aesthetically it is pleasing to watch, the story that ensues before our eyes is truly sad.
Another key character is Lady Kaede, and her onscreen presence is strong. Watching her character unfold is like watching a caterpillar morph into a butterfly, but in reverse. It’s these interesting characters and crazy story-line that make Ran so watchable. Then add a haunting score by Turo Takemitsu, you’re in for a sumptuous feast of film-making purity.
There are battle stages and sequences that would make Peter Jackson proud, and one specific scene is pure gore-beauty that I’m sure has inspired many film-makers, and that would make Quentin Tarantino applaud.
I must confess that this is by far not my favourite Akira film. It’s hard to beat some of his early work, like the ever so present in popular culture, Seven Samurai, or his slow but powerful Yojimbo. But Ran is a demonstration of how talented Akira really was, even decades on from his Seven Samurai masterpiece. It is no wander that Akira received an Honorary Award at the Oscars in 1990.
Ran is Japanese film-making at it’s best. Be prepared for an epic journey, so be rested and eager to Munch on this Akira gem.
TRIVIA COOKIES: Akira’s wife of 39 years passed during the production of Ran, he halted the shooting for 1 day, to mourn her passing, and then continued with the project. I think that his emotion is carried onto this film canvas, you can’t help but feel deep emotion when the story is coming to an end.
The costumes that numbered in the several hundreds took about two years to make, since they were all created by hand.
Akira Kurosawa was 76 years old when he directed Ran.