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zjp| Ran
Japan, France 1985
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Screenplay: Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, William Shakespeare, Masato Ide
Producer: Katsumi Furukawa, Masato Hara, Hisao Kurosawa, Serge Silberman
Cast: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû, Mieko Harada
Genre: Action, Drama, War

Running Time: 160
Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1 (NTSC Widescreen)
Sound: Dolby
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian
Studio:  Optimum Home Entertainment / Criterion / StudioCanal Collection DVD Region:  1 R
DVD Release:  Feb 2010 Discs:  1 (Cloud) []
Reviews:  Ran was made at the time Akira Kurosawa was turning 75 years of age. It is important to understand the wisdom and artistry that those years brought to the creation of this film, quite possibly one of the greatest ever made. Of the 1001 films one must see before dying, Ran Is certainly in the top ten. The director has called it “a series of human events viewed from Heaven.” Kurosawa is unsurpassed in his mastery of film technique, and Ran’s battle sequences are unequaled to this day. They are like a cinematic ballet, violent and bloody yet filled with tremendous beauty. The story is adapted from Shakespeare’s King Lear, combined with an ancient Japanese legend of three arrows. This decision moves the Bard’s tragedy into distinctly new territory. Lear’s daughters are now sons and the emphasis is on revenge rather than catharsis.

The performances range from brilliant to something resembling utter perfection. The standout without question is Mikeo Harada as Lady Kaede, one of Lord Hidetora’s (Tatsuya Nakadai) daughters-in-Iaw-watching her slink across the floor of her palace, her silk gowns rustling on the soundtrack, is unforgettable. Nakadai as Lord Hidetora displays a fierce defiance that melts into despair. And Lear’s fool is transformed into the Jester Kyoami, beautifully played by transvestite Shinnosuke Ikehata, an accomplished Noh actor-the makeup and much of Ran’s story is inspired by Noh drama and tradition.

Toru Takemitsu’s minimalist score makes fine use of flute and percussion to accent the epic. A special emphasis is placed on silence during the battle scenes—a tactic far more effective than all the cannon roar of previous attempts at depicting war on screen.

Ran displays the wisdom of a lifetime in a “mere” two hours and forty minutes, during which time itself is simply suspended. As one character in the film declares, “Man is born crying; when he dies, enough, he dies.” —David Del Valle (1001)

I already owned studiocanal's dvd of Ran—French import. There is zero difference in picture quality between the dvd and blu-ray. Frankly, the blu-ray is a disgrace. What are studiocanal thinking? Ran is probably one of the finest looking films of all time—regardless of how you rate it in Kurosawa's pantheon. Most people who invest in blu-ray do so because they want to see a film as it was intended to be seen—at its highest standard. To rehash a dvd and sell it as a blu-ray is basically ripping off your customers. But studios keep doing this... e.g. Sexy Beast (even in the wrong format...), Gladiator, first blu release of the Fifth element, etc, etc. We are being robbed blind. Unfortunately, this spells disaster for the future of blu-ray. I know many blu-ray owners who are fed up with being screwed. Sony needs to set an exacting standard by which all releases must be beholden, otherwise, people will just give up and stop buying blu discs.

Click on Title for International Movie Database link, click on Cover for Amazon link!

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