Ran ★★★★★

A glorious adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear without using a word of the dialogue. In this huge epic, a warlord abdicates in favour of his three sons - starting off a chain of events which become increasingly bloody and violent.

What you might remember about Ran are the beautiful set pieces and the use of bright colour throughout the film. There's a hint of the Noh theatre tradition in the make-up and performances of two of the leads, notably the Lear character, Hidetora.

Perhaps a definitive foreign Shakespeare, then, and the best of Kurosawa's three films inspired by the great tragedies (see also The Bad Sleep Well = Hamlet, and Throne of Blood = Macbeth).

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