Ran. 1985. Japan. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Written by Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Masato Ide. With Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Mieko Harada. In Japanese; English subtitles. 35mm. 162 min.
28 years after Throne of Blood, Akira Kurosawa again turned to Shakespeare for inspiration, reimagining King Lear as an epic drama of power and betrayal in feudal Japan. The great Tatsuya Nakadai stars as an elderly warlord who attempts to retire by handing his domain over to his three sons, only to find that his moral authority has vanished along with his empire. Ran is one of the last great screen spectacles, with epic battle scenes, including a final confrontation filmed on Mount Fuji, all made without the aid of digital special effects. The remarkable cast includes Mieko Harada as the vengeful Lady Kaede and Peter (Shinnosuke Ikehata), Japan’s most celebrated drag performer, as the court fool.