Set in the 16th century, Akira Kurosawa's epic spectacle, a variation on the theme of King Lear, is static, but it deepens, and it has its own ornery splendor. It's a totally conceptualized work--perhaps the biggest piece of conceptual art ever made. For the first 40 minutes or so, the picture is all preparation, and it seems dead, but then the preparation begins to pay off, and by the end the fastidiousness and the monumental scale of what Kurosawa has undertaken can flood you with admiration. With Mieko Harada as Lady Kaede, the vengeful demon who brings down the House of Ichimonji; Tatsuya Nakadai as the warlord head of the clan; the Japanese transvestite pop star known as Peter as the Fool; and Hisashi Ikawa as Kurogane, who defies Lady Kaede. The fine, harsh, percussive score is by Toru Takemitsu. (2 hours and 41 minutes.) In Japanese. A French-Japanese co-production, released in the U.S. by Orion.
see Hooked.