Iain Gray Freelance Writer

Ran - Review

Described by feared critic Pauline Kael as “perhaps the biggest piece of conceptual art ever made”, Akira Kurosawa’s samurai interpretation of Shakespeare’s Lear is an epic cinematic canvas of colour-coded armies, blood-soaked palaces and isolation.

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An ageing warlord in feudal Japan loses first his power, and then his mind when he divides his land between his three sons. Before long, mistrust, greed and betrayal plunge the entire kingdom into chaos and war.

Kurosawa films both the personal tragedies and battlefield slaughter with the same detached callousness, regarding the shocking events with a mix of contempt and pity, before concluding with a breathtaking image conveying loss, loneliness and the transitory nature of life. 


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