Welcome to Akira Kurosawa info!  Log in or Register?

Watch the new trailer for Akira Kurosawa’s Ran

Studio Canal has released a new trailer for their new 4K restoration of Akira Kurosawa’s Ran which will be shown in the UK this spring and is already touring the US.

You can watch the trailer below.

I would say that it does a good job capturing the film’s titular chaos. Or what do you think?

A Blu-ray of the new restoration will be released on April 12 in France and on May 2nd in the UK. For pre-orders, see for instance Amazon.fr and Amazon.co.uk.


Discussion

  link

Longstone

There are some screen captures from the new Blu-ray and a review here
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film5/blu-ray_reviews_71/ran_blu-ray.htm

  link

Ugetsu

I’m just back from watching it in the cinema.

It really is magnificent, and I realise just how much I missed in the film watching on a regular dvd (maybe it would be different if I had a big screen TV or projector). The colours are amazing and vivid and they are not just for aesthetic effect – they actually aid in understanding and following the film, I must admit that on previous viewings I got a little confused with who was who in which suit of armour, which got in the way of following the story. The visual clarity very much aids the narrative flow and many things which I found a bit puzzling in my first viewings are now much clearer.

The other obvious point to make is that despite the films age, it really does stand up very well to repeated viewings. There is something about the sheer scale of the spectacle and the minimal use of any ‘effects’ which makes it so much more effective than any CGI enhanced film. The battle scenes really are very special.

The one thing that really stood out for me even more than in previous viewings is just how incredible Mieko Harada’s performance is – she steals the film in every scene she is in. The blocking of those interior shots with her and Jiro is every bit as stunning as the big battle scenes.

  link

Vili Maunula

Sounds great, Ugetsu! A bit jealous here.

Looking at the DVD Beaver link that Longstone posted, it’s quite fascinating how the new transfer differs from the previous ones. I didn’t expect it to be that… blue? How was it in the cinema?

  link

Ugetsu

Vili,

Its hard to compare to previous versions I’ve seen as I haven’t seen them on the big screen. I would not say its a perfect print – there was occasional fuzziness and lack of clarity – although I suspect this was a projection issue more than the quality of the print. I saw it in Screen 2 of the IFI, which is a converted 18th century meeting room – it is a lovely, intimate cinema, but is nowhere near the top modern standard for sound/vision. Unfortunately, its the only venue its been shown here in Dublin – my local ‘art’ cinema is not showing it for some reason which is a great shame, as it has much better projectors, screens and audio – for some odd reason which no doubt makes sense to distributors, they are not showing it as part of the upcoming annual Japanese film festival.

I’m no expert on restoration or the technical aspects of restoration, but I would think its not yet ‘perfect’ in the sense of being as fine a print as AK himself would want. The original of course may not have been perfect either – for example, near the end, there is a shot of the ‘First Castle’ being attacked which is clearly (by modern standards) done through a split screen, with the ‘castle’ a model. Its a jarring contrast to the battle scene at the Third Castle, which is obviously ‘real’ and quite spectacular. I can only assume Kurosawa allowed this for budget reasons (“you want us to pay to build another castle and then burn it down?” I can hear the producer scream). I’m sure that scene could be digitally improved. But whether its appropriate to use modern technology to ‘clean up’ original films in that way I’ll leave to others to decide.

But if we assume that aim is to restore to ‘master print’ quality, then I don’t think what I saw is quite that yet (as I said, its as likely be the quality of the projection as the print), but its as close as we can reasonably expect. Certainly the vividness of the colours was by far the best I’ve seen, and for the first time I could work out the subtlety and shades in the characters make-up and faces, which made a big difference for enjoying the film.

  link

Vili Maunula

Thanks for the additional details, Ugetsu! It sounds really good. Too bad it’s not playing here.

Also: Ran, 2001 and Metropolis playing at the Irish Film Institute this month? Damn. I think I should move to Dublin.

That Japanese film festival, on the other hand, is full of titles and names unknown to me. Let us know if you go to any screenings and find something interesting!

  link

Ugetsu

Yeah Vili, there are some great revivals at the moment. There was a trailer for 2001 at Ran which looked and sounded amazing. I’ve never seen it on the big screen either, so I can’t wait for the chance.

The annual Japanese film festival is always a bit of an odd one out as far as film festivals go – the choice of films seems almost random, a mix of recent popular hits, some low budget festival fare, and a very occasional older classic. When I’ve gone in the past there have often been more Japanese people attending than the usual film festival types, which I suppose reflects the policy of showing popular domestic hits rather than necessarily the ‘best’ of current Japanese cinema. But it doesn’t help of course that some of the films are so obscure its almost impossible to know which ones to choose. Sadly I don’t have the spare time to go every night. But then again, sometimes its nice to just go to see a random film.

  link

Ugetsu

Incidentally, one thing that really stood out for me seeing the film this time was the very last shot – that of the scroll of Buddha, lying on the ground at the foot of the castle. I’d always thought of this as simply a visual representation of how the Gods have abandoned everyone, even the lost, blind boy. And as such it fits neatly into the discussion back a few years ago on Ran: Gods as audience, audience as gods.

But what struck me forcefully with the new print was how beautiful the image was, and how the face of buddha was lit up with a strange unnatural light – a ray of the setting sun? Of course, there isn’t much realism in Ran, but this seemed a particularly non-realistic image – it is unnaturally lit, the scroll is perfect, it shows no damage or stains despite what it has been through. The image is gorgeously painted and the representation is of a smiling buddha – I couldn’t help but think that this glowing, smiling God was actually mocking humanity. Kurosawa of course was influenced by scroll paintings in his filming – especially in the climactic battle scene. Here we see a painting actually seeming to mock not just the characters, but the audience itself. I really don’t know what to make of it, especially in the light of previous discussions we’ve had about the relationship of the characters, the Gods, and the audience. But it is an incredible and disquieting image and I can’t help thinking it was intended to mean much more than just ‘we’ve lost the Gods’.

  link

BMWRider

Since I have not posted in quite a while and have been ignoring my cinema habit, I wanted to let you all know I am alive and well and hoping for a USA run of Ran. If it happens, I am all over it. Now back to my dissertation. ­čÖé

  link

jivjov

BMWRider; Alamo Drafthouse was doing a series of Ran screenings; I saw one last Sunday (what a way to see that film for the first time…I was blown away!)

Leave a comment

Log in or Register to post a comment!