Sunday, November 05, 2006
Ran (1985), or, as they say in Japanese, "Ran (1985)"
One night I thought I would go to the library and check out an eighties movie instead of sitting around and watching The Golf Channel all night, like usual. So I go on the reserve database and see this cool looking Japanese movie called Ran. I'm thinking to myself--"Ran? Must be about samurai warriors running from each other. Sweet." I bring it home and we watch it--and it goes on for an hour and a half--two hours--and I'm thinking, "How long is this movie?" At this point I grabbed the case and the running time is 160 minutes. Right--so you can imagine, I'm thinking to myself--"Geese. I've got to have this thing back by eight thirty AM or they're going to fine me five bucks. But I've still got forty minutes of it to watch"--so, like the diligent student of 80's films I am, I finish the thing off and get up early and get extra espresso in my coffee the next morning.
But I survived, unlike most the characters in Ran. Hidetora, an aging war lord residing over a large province, decides to give his duties to his three sons so he can retire. The three sons end up hating the father for being a loud drunk with his group of loud and drunk warriors. They all have a bunch of women hanging around, some of which commit suicide in an amazingly graphic scene of burning buildings and deliberately falling on swords.
The old man does some acting. I mean, close-up facial expression Shakespearean style over dramatic acting. He goes from happy, silly drunkard to obstinate and unwelcome visitor to totally mindless crazed old man who's doomed to die. I don't think the Japanese people who made this like happy endings. It's in subtitles so you have to know how to read. If you want to see some cool fighting scenes mixed with obvious and exaggerated acting, check it out, but give yourself time because it's not a short movie.
Oh yeah, and I guess this is some kind of adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear or something, so if you're Eli you should probably run and get it. (Or should I say--Ran and get it).
If you want to become a samurai I found you a place to learn.