RAN was released in 1985.
The film had a theatrical rerelease for its 15th anniversary on August 18, 2000 (NY/LA/SEATTLE); fall 2000 (WIDER)
RAN was shot on location in Japan at Himeji Castle, Kumamoto Castle, and Nagoya Castle, in the cities of Gotemba, Kokonoe, and Shonai. Interior scenes were shot at Toho Studios and also at Kurosawa's own studio in Yokohama.
Mount Aso, where many of the mountain and plains sequences were shot, is an active volcano on the island of Kyushu.
Kurosawa employed roughly 1,400 extras and 250 horses for the film's enormous battle scenes. Many of the extras were enthusiastic locals from nearby towns.
Utilizing his famous multicamera method, Kurosawa shot the film simultaneously from different angles using three cameras with various-size lenses.
The film's visuals are strongly influenced by Noh drama. Lord Hidetora's makeup, for example, alludes to ancient Noh tradition, with his face painted to appear as either "akijo," a demon mask, or "shiwajo," the mask of a sorrow-filled elderly wanderer.
In addition to KING LEAR, RAN is also partially based on the 16th-century Japanese legend of Mori, a warlord with three loyal sons. In one of the film's first scenes, Kurosawa presents Mori's story of the three arrows, supposedly unbreakable when held together. Here the director examines what might happen if all three sons were not loyal and the arrows could be broken.
With its similar themes and the same leading actor (Tatsuya Nakadai), Kurosawa's previous film, KAGEMUSHA, was considered a "dry-run" for RAN.
RAN cost $11.5 million to film.
RAN was the winner of the 1985 New York Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Film and the 1985 National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Film.
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