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USA: Orion Classics / Winstar Cinema
Cast: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryu, Mieko Harada, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Masayuki Yui, Kazuo Kato, Peter, Hitoshi Ueki, Jun Tazaki, Norio Matsui, Hisashi Igawa, Kenji Kodama, Toshiya Ito
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Countries: Japan / France
Language: Japanese (English subtitles)
USA: 160 mins
USA Rated: R
USA Release Date: 18 August 2000 (Limited Re-release - Los Angeles, New York and Seattle)
An epic film that took 10 years to make, RAN was Akira Kurosawa?s twenty-seventh film, the culmination of an extraordinary career.
RAN, which translates as "chaos" or "turmoil," is Kurosawa?s meditation on Shakespeare?s "King Lear" crossed with the history of Japan?s 16th-century Civil Wars and the legend of Mori, a feudal warlord with three good sons. The tale of the three arrows, unbreakable when sheathed together, is Mori?s famous illustration of filial loyalty and family strength in unity.
At the age of seventy, after years of consolidating his empire, the Great Lord Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nadakai) decides to abdicate and divide his domain amongst his three sons. Taro (Akira Terao), the eldest, will rule. Jiro (Jinpachi Nezu), his second son, and Saburo (Daisuke Ryu) will take command of the Second and Third Castles but are expected to obey and support their elder brother. To illustrate his demand for family unity, Hidetora demonstrates that a single arrow is easily broken but that three arrows held together are strong.
Ruthless power struggles and feuding follow and as the story ends, Saburo?s prediction has been fulfilled, and the Ichimonji empire lies in ruin.