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Old 05-28-2009, 06:54 PM   #1
pro-bassoonist pro-bassoonist is offline
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United Kingdom RAN (Akira Kurosawa)



Optimum Home Entertainment are set to release Akira Kurosawa's RAN (1985) on September 28 in the United Kingdom. Golden Globe Winner - Best Foreign Film (1986).

Roger Ebert:
Quote:
One of the early reviews of Akira Kurosawa's "Ran" said that he could not possibly have directed it at an earlier age. My first impulse was to question that act of critical omnipotence. Who is to say Kurosawacouldn't have made this film at 50 or 60, instead of at 75, as he has?

But then I thought longer about "Ran," which is based on Shakespeare's "King Lear" and on a similar medieval samurai legend. And I thought about Laurence Oliver's "Lear" on TV last year, and about the "Lear" I saw starring Douglas Campbell a few weeks ago here in Chicago, and I realized that age probably is a prerequisite to fully understand this character. Dustin Hoffman might be able to play Willy Loman by aging himself with makeup, but he will have to wait another 20 years to play Lear.

The character contains great paradoxes, but they are not the paradoxes of youth; they spring from long habit. Lear has the arrogance of great power, long held. He has wide knowledge of the world. Yet he is curiously innocent when it comes to his own children; he thinks they can do no wrong, can be trusted to carry out his plans. At the end, when his dreams have been broken, the character has the touching quality of a childlike innocence that can see breath on lips that are forever sealed, and can dream of an existence beyond the cruelties of man. Playing Lear is not a technical exercise. I wonder if a man can do it who has not had great disappointments and long dark nights of the soul.

Kurosawa has lived through those bad times. Here is one of the greatest directors of all time, out of fashion in his own country, suffering from depression, nearly blind. He prepared this film for 10 years, drawing hundreds of sketches showing every shot, hardly expecting that the money ever would be found to allow him to make the film. But a deal was finally put together by Serge Silberman, the old French producer who backed the later films of Luis Bunuel (who also could have given us a distinctive Lear). Silberman risked his own money; this is the most expensive Japanese film ever made, a nd, yes, perhaps Kurosawa could not have made it until he was 75.

The story is familiar. An old lord decides to retire from daily control of his kingdom, yet still keep all the trappings of his power. He will divide his kingdom in three parts among his children. In "Ran" they are sons, not daughters. First, he requires a ritual statement of love. The youngest son cannot abide the hypocrisy, and stays silent. And so on. The Japanese legend Kurosawa draws upon contains a famous illustration in which the old lord takes three arrows and demonstrates that when they are bundled, they cannot be broken, but taken one at a time, they are weak. He wishes his sons to remain allies, so they will be strong, but of course they begin to fight, and civil war breaks out as the old lord begins his forlorn journey from one castle to another, gradually being stripped of his soldiers, his pride, his sanity. Nobody can film an epic battle scene like Kurosawa. He already has demonstrated that abundantly in "The Seven Samurai," in "Yojimbo," in "Kagemusha." In "Ran," the great bloody battles are counterpointed with scenes of a chamber quality, as deep hatreds and lusts are seen to grow behind the castle walls.

"King Lear" is a play that centers obsessively around words expressing negatives. "Nothing? Nothing will come to nothing!" "Never, never, never." "No, no, no, no, no." They express in deep anguish the king's realization that what has been taken apart never will be put together again, that his beloved child is dead and will breathe no more, that his pride and folly have put an end to his happiness. Kurosawa's film expresses that despair perhaps more deeply than a Western film might; the samurai costumes, the makeup inspired by Noh drama, give the story a freshness that removes it from all our earlier associations.

"Ran" is a great, glorious achievement. Kurosawa often must have associated himself with the old lord as he tried to put this film together, but in the end he has triumphed, and the image I have of him, at 75, is of three arrows bundled together.
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:57 PM   #2
AnimeOnBlu AnimeOnBlu is offline
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Considering the Optimum DVD looked very good (dare I say as good if not better then the Criterion), I have very high hopes. Day 1 buy for me.
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Old 05-28-2009, 07:46 PM   #3
pro-bassoonist pro-bassoonist is offline
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It will be the same Studio Canal print everyone else will be using (including Kinowelt in Germany).

Pro-B
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:34 PM   #4
AnimeOnBlu AnimeOnBlu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pro-bassoonist View Post
It will be the same Studio Canal print everyone else will be using (including Kinowelt in Germany).

Pro-B
That worries me, considering the HD-DVD didn't look too good.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:56 PM   #5
Bruce Morrison Bruce Morrison is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pro-bassoonist View Post
It will be the same Studio Canal print everyone else will be using (including Kinowelt in Germany).

Pro-B
Optimum recently released a BD of 'The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada' based on a HD master used in France and provided to them. It turned out to be mastered at 25p instead of 24p, so they released it as a 1080i disc with the film running at the wrong speed!

I hope nothing like that will happen with their 'Ran' BD since it's going to be based on a version mastered for use in Europe.
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Old 05-29-2009, 12:05 AM   #6
Pyoko Pyoko is offline
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Sigh, the Studio Canal HD DVD is rubbish, and the Japanese Blu-ray is very soft and heavily de-grained. They really need to do this one over, properly.

Last edited by Pyoko; 05-29-2009 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:06 AM   #7
AnimeOnBlu AnimeOnBlu is offline
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Cover Art from AmazonUK. Appears to be a Digibook.
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:20 AM   #8
pandemonium pandemonium is offline
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Likely to be region B, no?

That looks spectacular!
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:41 AM   #9
Zyclone Zyclone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandemonium View Post
Likely to be region B, no?

That looks spectacular!
alot of their stuff so far has been locked to region B sorry
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:42 AM   #10
AnimeOnBlu AnimeOnBlu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandemonium View Post
Likely to be region B, no?

That looks spectacular!
Not sure, but most likely. Pro-B can probably answer that.

Last edited by AnimeOnBlu; 06-17-2009 at 02:45 AM.
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:01 PM   #11
Travis Bickle Travis Bickle is offline
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It does look like a nice Blu-ray Book (digibook) edition! Except, it sort of looks as if its in regular dvd packaging. It looks too tall for blu-ray. Still, I think its pretty sharp looking.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...AL._SS500_.jpg
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:48 PM   #12
Weirded Wonder Weirded Wonder is offline
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Default Ran - UK - September 28th?

Does anyone know if the U.K. version of Ran coming out on September 28th is region free? I'm guessing that it will not be.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ran-Blu-ray-Tatsuya-Nakadai/dp/B002BC9YZW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1252766702&sr=1-1
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:54 PM   #13
Weirded Wonder Weirded Wonder is offline
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Would love to know.
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:17 PM   #14
pro-bassoonist pro-bassoonist is offline
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Region-B "locked".

Pro-B
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:09 PM   #15
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Its definitely worth having a region-free or secondary region B player nowadays.
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:03 PM   #16
Weirded Wonder Weirded Wonder is offline
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True. But the money I save not buying one goes to more Blus.
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beardmoen View Post
True. But the money I save not buying one goes to more Blus.
Sounds like a glass half empty sort of approach.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:27 PM   #18
Funktion Funktion is offline
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Regarding this "digibook" packaging: how is the disc stored? Seeing the picture posted, it seems the disc slides in a piece of paper/cardboard, which is sure to scratch it. Tell me that's not the case!

I'm interested in quite a few of these releases from the so called "Studio Canal collection", but if the packaging is indeed how I believe it is I'll wait until someone releases the films in a package that doesn't damage the discs.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:05 PM   #19
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Pro-B, will you be reviewing this before my copy ships???
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:28 PM   #20
AnimeOnBlu AnimeOnBlu is offline
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Looks like this is actually Region A and B compatible:
Quote:
All 3 discs we tested (Le Mepris, The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum and Ran) played on Region A and B machines.
http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content/id...r-updated.html

Doesn't say if the extras are in PAL or NTSC or HD.
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