Hell as the Here-and-Now

  • Daniel F. Short


HELL AS THE HERE-AND-NOW: IMAGES OF HUMAN TRAVAIL IN TWELFTH-CENTURY EMAKI AND KUROSAWA'S RANAKIRA KUROSAWA'S last major epic film, Ran (translatable as "chaos"), begins in media res with the moment of precipitous decline of the seventy-year-old Hidetora, a medieval-period daimyo. Hidetora gathers together his three sons and two lesser daimyo, lords Fujimaki and Ayabe, for first a hunt, then to issue an edict: Though he will retain his banner and ceremonial title of Great Lord, his oldest son, Taro, will henceforth act as the clan's leader. Hidetora hopes to spend his remaining years as a doting and beloved father. But, as Hidetora's son Saburo warns, such familial peace and bliss is hardly achievable within a world of warriors and their competing ambitions, a world that Hidetora himself helped to create through his many ruthless acts. This meeting of hunter-warriors is both sequel to the violent episodes in...