Akira Kurosawa’s RAN (King Lear)

First of all, you should all go watch Ran by Akira Kurosawa because not only is it an adaptation of King Lear, it’s a fantastic and historically significant film. Also see Rashomon, The Idiot (Dostoevsky adaptation), Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood (Macbeth), Yojimbo, High and Low… what is this post about again?

I saw this film before I ever read King Lear, so a lot of these characters and settings looked like this film when I imagined them reading it. More than anything, the actor who plays “Lord Ichimonji” (King Lear) does a fantastic job of portraying his insanity. In this scene, we see as he sits in silence while being shot at it and while the building he is in begins to burn to the ground. At about the 3 minute point, he suddenly erupts into a fury, desperate to grab a hold of anything and escape the inferno, eventually sinking back down into his sitting position. This actor’s portrayal is what I had in mind while reading King Lear, and I think it does well to add some depth to Lear’s insanity that doesn’t necessarily come through on the page.


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