Ran (film)

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Ran (?, "chaos" or "revolt") is a 1985 film written and directed by Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. It is a jidaigeki (Japanese period drama) depicting the fall of Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadai), an aging Sengoku-era warlord who decides to abdicate as ruler in favor of his three sons. The story is based on legends of the daimyo Mōri Motonari, as well as on the Shakespearean tragedy King Lear.

Ran was Kurosawa's last epic. With a budget of $12 million, it was the most expensive Japanese film ever produced up to that time.[1] After Ran, Kurosawa directed three other films before he died, but none on so large a scale. The film was hailed for its powerful images and use of color—costume designer Emi Wada won an Academy Award for Costume Design for her work on Ran. The distinctive Gustav Mahler-inspired film score, written by Tōru Takemitsu, plays in isolation with ambient sound muted.

Contents

Plot

According to Stephen Prince, Ran is "a relentless chronicle of base lust for power, betrayal of the father by his sons, and pervasive wars and murders that destroy all the main characters."[2] It is a tale about the downfall of the once-powerful Ichimonji clan after its patriarch Hidetora decides to give control of his kingdom up to his three sons: Taro, Jiro, and Saburo. Taro, the eldest, will receive the prestigious First Castle and become leader of the Ichimonji clan, while Jiro and Saburo will be given the Second and Third Castles. Hidetora will remain the titular leader and retain the title of Great Lord. Jiro and Saburo are to support Taro, and Hidetora illustrates this by using a bundle of arrows.[3] Saburo criticizes the logic of Hidetora's plan. Hidetora achieved power through violence and treachery, he reminds his father, yet he foolishly expects his sons to be loyal to him. Hidetora mistakes these comments for a threat; and, when his servant Tango comes to Saburo's defense, he banishes both of them.

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