160 minutes, Japan-France, 1985, Digital

This film was released 1st April 2016, and is no longer screening.

★★★★★ The Irish Times ★★★★★ The Guardian

Kurosawa made 12 films between 1950 and 1965, including the masterpieces Rashomon (1950), Ikiru (1952) and The Seven Samurai (1954), but in the subsequent 20 years, he struggled to get films made, often considered by Japanese financiers as past his prime. By 1985, he had been working on Ran for ten years, painting storyboards for every scene and carefully devising the plot, based on Shakespeare’s King Lear as well as on the legends of daimyō Mōri Motonari, who reigned during the agitated Sengoku period. The results remain staggering.

Shot in and around Mount Aso, Japan’s largest active volcano, with a cast including 1,400 extras dressed in elaborate costumes (which took three years to make),Ran, meaning chaos, portrays the consequences of aging warlord Hidetora Ichimonji’s short-sighted decision to divide the kingdom he’s recklessly spent a lifetime establishing between his three drastically incompatible sons. (Notes by Alice Butler.)

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