A masterpiece from cinema’s legendary Akira Kurosawa

Ran at Eastbourne Curzon cinema
Ran at Eastbourne Curzon cinema

Eastbourne Film Society will present next week (Wednesday November 30) a film at the Curzon cinema which joins in the commemoration of William Shakespeare marking the 400th anniversary of his death.

The film is Akira Kurosawa’s celebrated version of King Lear entitled Ran and it will be screened in a stunning new 4K restoration. It is remarkable - but no exaggeration to say - that this film, first released here 30 years ago, has never looked better.

It is, of course, a paradox that Ran, considered to be one of the most memorable of all films based on a Shakespeare play, is a Japanese film so that with dialogue rendered in subtitles, the actual language of Shakespeare is missing. However, Kurosawa was wonderfully in tune with the spirit of his work, and in transposing the setting to Japan in mediaeval times Kurosawa was enabled to incorporate spectacular scenes of action which are breathtaking in their own right. But it is the fidelity to Shakespeare’s spirit that carries the day and explains why Ran made by Kurosawa, when he was already a septuagenerian, is widely regarded as a masterpiece.

As usual with Film Society presentations Ran will be shown with seats available for the public but, due to its epic nature (the film lasts for over two and a half hours), will receive only two screenings next Wednesday: the matinee at 2.15 p.m. and the evening performance at 7.15 p.m.

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