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Ran film image, woman with samurai sword


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Tackling King Lear in his seventies with the same gusto he brought to Macbeth 25 years earlier, Kurosawa has a great warlord blindly plunging the country into civil war when he divides his kingdom between his three sons. If there are parallels with his own troubled career, it’s clear that the filmmaker saw this as a universal statement on the human condition: “Man is born crying, and when he dies, enough, he dies.”

Surprisingly Kurosawa didn’t embrace colour until 1970, but there is no denying the rhapsodic pageantry of Ran; he marshaled colour-coded armies with supreme artistry, creating some of the most vivid and nightmarish battle scenes ever filmed. Tatsuya Nakadai, who plays the warlord, first worked with Kurosawa on Seven Samurai in 1954, and is still acting to this day.

Sunday’s Pantheon screening will begin with a short 15-20 minute introductory lecture, and feature a book club-style discussion afterwards.


Jan 21: Introduced by Mike Archibald, writer, editor and filmmaker

Born and raised in Vancouver, Mike Archibald is a writer, editor and filmmaker. He studied film at Concordia University’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and has worked with various festivals in this city, including DOXA and VIFF.


A great, glorious achievement.

Roger Ebert

In many respects, it’s Kurosawa’s most sumptuous film, a feast of color, motion and sound: Considering that its brethren include Kagemusha, Seven Samurai and Dersu Uzala, the achievement is extraordinary.

Shawn Levy, Portland Oregonian


Presented by


Akira Kurosawa


Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryu, Mieko Harada, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Hisashi Igawa, Peter

Country of Origin





In Japanese with English subtitles

162 min
Greenwich Film Production (France), Herald Ace Inc. (Japan), Nippon Herald Films (Japan)

Book Tickets

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Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Masato Ide


Takao Saitô, Masaharu Ueda, Asakazu Nakai


Akira Kurosawa

Original Music

Tôru Takemitsu

Production Design

Yoshirô Muraki, Shinobu Muraki

Also in This Series

Daisies + Meshes of the Afternoon

This program highlights two landmarks in feminist film: Maya Deren's surrealist short Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), and Vera Chytilova's subversive new wave farce, Daisies (1966), perhaps the most radical, confrontational film of the era.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre


The consummate director of the silent era, Murnau was schooled in German Expressionism and embraced the fluidity and dynamism of the moving camera. Invited to Hollywood he prefigured film noir with this tale of a married villager seduced by a city vamp.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

Pather Panchali

Satyajit Ray's first film opened eyes in the West. It's a naturalistic portrait of the childhood of a Brahman child, Apu, growing up in a village far from twentieth century technology in West Bengal.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

The Night of the Hunter

One of the strangest and most beguiling movies you'll ever see, from a poetic, nightmarish novel by Davis Grubb, a fable about two children fleeing from a psychotic evangelical preacher (Robert Mitchum). Charles Laughton's only film as director.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

The Battle of Algiers

French Colonel Mathieu hunts for Algerian resistance leader Ali la Pointe in Pontecorvo's classic, which draws the battle lines between colonialists and Arab insurrectionists in a pulsating, "fly-on-the-wall" documentary style.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre


Jacques Tati was modernity's clown; technology his banana skin. Here his alter-ego Monsieur Hulot navigates a sterile Paris that seems designed to thwart his every wish.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre