Ran ★★★★★

Imagine a career of all hits and no misses. Imagine being Akira Kurosawa. 

Likely due to my own narrow-minded Western cultural barriers, I’ve personally found difficulty connecting to Kurosawa films on an emotional level... difficult. The technical artistry is undeniable, but I’ve yet to walk away from a Kurosawa film with overall catharsis. 

Until “Ran.” Because “Ran”.... is Shakespeare. I’ve read “King Lear” 8 times, and had the joy of watching it performed twice (once by GOAT Ian McKellen). It’s among my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays, and I can now think of nobody better to have interpreted it than Kurosawa. 

Kurosawa is a maestro of nature. The plants and weather in his films have physicality like none other. “King Lear” is likely the Shakespeare work where nature has importance over all else. It is a prison of madness to Lear and also a safe haven of purity when all else is corrupt and evil. So, all respect to Mr. Kurosawa’s perfect battle choreography, but I love “Ran” most of all for how he so fluently captures the space that men occupy in nature - whether there is blood or rain on the grass.

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