Despite having been written centuries ago, Shakespeare’s plays continue to have immense relevance and narrative force to this day, which continues to inspire contemporary creators. Without going any further, we have seen Robert Eggers playing with the same influences of the English author to make ‘The man from the North’, taking advantage of medieval stories to comment on harmful and destructive impulses of human nature.
Works like ‘The Lear King‘ discuss things that are still interesting and can be connected to current events. The decline of civilizations, built on impositions and cruelties hidden under the carpet, or the desire for power that ends up destroying everything. Concepts that inspired Akira Kurosawa to make one of his most epic films, ‘Ran‘, which continues to have strength today and is worth recovering in Filmin.
Here he takes the story of Shakespeare and takes it to medieval Japan. A powerful lord must prepare to abdicate and divide his kingdom among his three sons, who he hopes will preserve the peace he has tried to maintain for years. Try to instill in them the strength of unity, that together they will be unbeatable, but in full teaching he runs into the teasing of the youngest son. Enraged, he decides to disinherit it.
It will not be long before he realizes that this is the worst thing he could do, and his advice and morals will fall on deaf ears. His sons will divide and fight for power over the entire kingdom., unleashing the bloodiest war he feared so much. This tragic story of a burned legacy leaves a few interesting lessons about the ego and the destruction assured in unbridled ambition.
Kurosawa prepared this ambitious adaptation already in the seventies, where he had one of the most conflictive points of his career. Commercially it was no longer viable and his pace slowed him down remarkably from his prolific previous decades. The unexpected success of ‘Dersu Uzala’ was insufficient to convince investors to bet on this expensive work. Finally, in the eighties he got Serge Silberman as a producer and the project went ahead.
‘Ran’: one of the best Shakespeare seen on screen
And luckily it went ahead, because the exquisite workmanship that the Japanese director uses to tell this devastating story leaves you completely shocked. Its two and a half hours are intense, overwhelming even, but widely interesting, making it one of the best adaptations of Shakespeare along with others by this same director, such as ‘throne of blood‘ either ‘The scoundrels sleep in peace‘.
His way of approaching the story of the father, in his old age and desolate before the future that his legacy will develop, is very moving, and you can almost see that the filmmaker himself, 75 years old at the time, pours part of himself into that part of the story.
That makes ‘Ran’ really essential beyond his intellectual interest. returns it an epic piece by one of the best directors ever.