Tag Archives: Mieko Harada

The Set of 400: #321 – My Favorite Feudal Asian Shakespeare

Today! Because in a mad world only the mad are sane –

Ran (乱) (1985)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Starring Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryu, Mieko Harada, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Mansai Nomura

Akira Kurosawa’s brilliant retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear, Ran was named Best Movie of the Last 25 Years, in a very informal on-campus poll conducted during my second year of college (Keystone, represent!). Sure, maybe we were all being hoity-toity intellectuals at the time – Ran being the only Japanese film on that list, almost for sure – but that’s not to dull this film’s greatness. It’s a sweeping triumph, epic in every sense of the word, featuring hundreds of extras and horses, mammoth location shooting at Mount Aso and Mount Fuji, a budget nearly double that of any previous Japanese production, and a filming/planning process that occupied a decade. And it’s all on the screen, this giant, fatalistic masterpiece of a country and family falling apart in 16th century Japan. Continue reading

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