Pop Culture Imports: Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Ran,’ A German Sexual Assault Drama, A Penelope Cruz-Javier Bardem Reunion, and More

/Film | 6/13/2019 | Hoai-Tran Bui
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In this week’s Pop Culture Imports, we have Akira Kurosawa‘s masterpiece, Ran, on the Criterion Channel, and a few hidden gems on Netflix including a superb German sexual assault drama, a poignant slice of life anime film, the latest cinematic reunion between Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, and a vibrant animated love letter to Ancient Andean culture.

Fire up the subtitles and let’s dive into the best foreign movies and TV streaming now.

Cast - Tatsuya - Nakadai - Akira - Terao

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

Akira Kurosawa‘s adaptation of King Lear is Shakespearean tragedy meets the Japanese theatrical tradition of Noh. Ran is a poetic epic tragedy that has been hailed as Kurosawa’s last masterpiece, and it fully deserves that praise. Kurosawa takes the mythic story of King Lear — in by far the best adaptation of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy — to even greater heights. The film follows an aging warlord (Tatsuya Nakadai) as he decides to abdicate and divide his domain among his three sons. But as his two eldest sons (Akira Terao and Jinpachi Nezu) flatter him with empty compliments, his youngest and favorite son warns that this arrangement will only lead to betrayal and bloodshed amongst the power-hungry family. Enraged by his youngest son’s words, he banishes him, only to see his predictions come to fruition. Shot almost exclusively in painterly wide shots, Ran has the grandest scope of Kurosawa’s filmography — already one chock full of cinema classics. It also has one of the all-time great female villains in the chilling and vengeful Lady Kaede (Mieko Harada), whose Lady Macbeth-style machinations are glorious to witness. Full of beautiful carnage and some of the most beautiful battle scenes put to celluloid, Ran is a stunning, breathtaking triumph of cinema.

Gladiator - Lawrence

Watch This If You Like: Gladiator, Lawrence...
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