OK, I give up with the years! Having cheated and made The Cotton Club my 1985 film, I now have this, genuinely from 1985!

RAN is Kurosawa's swan song, the most expensive Japanese film up until then, and you can certainly see the money on the screen[1]. I imagine the location hunter took a fair fee because she/he certainly contributed hugely. This film is stunningly beautiful to look at. People even die beautifully. And thanks to that beauty it's two and a half hours don't feel like a chore.

There's a battle sequence in the middle of the film that is utterly spellbinding, I'm sure it's on YouTube but that is certainly NOT the way to watch any of this film. In fact I feel I missed out by watching the HD version on a reasonable sized TV.

The story is based on King Lear, but with three daughters becoming three sons, and this is where the film struggles a little bit. Despite the films length we don't really get to know too much about any of the main characters. There's only one woman of note in the film and she's manipulative and vicious (although she has good reasons). And there's no hero to root for, and without a hero the film becomes a little harder to love. It introduces and discards characters too casually.

Not perfect, but seriously see how brilliant a film can be without CGI - the battle sequnces in this knock those in LoTR into a cocked hat!

[1] I was going to say "you can see all that money on the screen" but apparently Kurosawa painted a field gold for a scene that was cut from the film, so it wouldn't be true!

50 films and 50 albums