This is one of a series of notes for A Chronological Biography of Akira Kurosawa
Kurosawa's recasting of Shakespeare's Macbeth as a samurai warlord in Throne of Blood was thoroughly succesful. Ran is an equally successful interpretation of King Lear and retains many of the main themes of the play as it transforms the daughters into sons and transposes, uniting two characters into the Fool. and bringing the action to sixteenth-century Japan. The shift and sway of a nation divided is vast, the chaos ("Ran") is terrifying, the battle scenes visually stunning — ghastly and haunting — and the outcome even bleaker than Shakespeare’s. The only note of optimism resides in the nobility of the film itself: a huge, tormented canvas from which the powerful performances by Nakadai, Terao, and Harada loom. All around the pettiness and treachery of the people blooms the majesty of the world itself, relentlessly uncaring of the fate of the characters.
The family crest of Ichimonji is the sun and moon. The kanji (Chinese character) of Kurosawa's first name "Akira" is the combined characters of sun and moon. Kurosawa said in an interview that, "Hidetora is me."
Title: Ran (Chaos)
Original Title in Japanese: Ran
Running Time: 162 min
Company: Herald Ace - Greenwich Film
Writer(s): Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Masato Ide
Director(s) of Photography: Takao Saito, Shouji Ueda (support: Asakazu Nakai)
Production Designer(s): Yoshiro Muraki, Shinobu Muraki
Music: Tetsu Takemitsu
Tatsuya Nakadai (Hidetora Ichimonji), Akira Terao (Takatora Ichimonji), Jinpachi Nezu (Masatora Ichimonji), Daisuke Ryu (Naotora Ichimonji), Peater (Kyoami)