I have a hunch about Ran that I haven’t yet fully developed because it came to me just after I watched Ran tonight for the first time.
Beside King Lear, are there any elements, however small, of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov in Ran?
For those of you who have never read The Brothers Karamazov, it is about three brothers dealing with the mystery that one of them might have killed their father.
Dostoevsky was one of Kurosawa’s favorite novelists. He even adapted The Idiot into a film that was later butchered by the studios. And many of his other films have Dostoevsky-like themes.
I doubt that as Kurosawa was in production of this massive film The Brothers Karamazov never crossed his mind.
The tale is a reworking of a Japanese myth (which abound in the era of warring states) and Lear. Dostoevskian maybe obliquely, but if one remembers Karamazov is actually about three legitimate sons and one illegitimate one. The novel is more about redemption through lineage, while Kurosawa’s ultimate comment on heredity seems more about manipulative revenge through lineage.
I wouldn’t say Kurosawa saw that novel as a particularly large influence for that film, even if he may have thought about it.
@ Wu Yong
Thanks, I didn’t know that a Japanese myth also influenced Ran.
Also, this may be a coincidence but Dostoevsky’s The Possessed begins with a quotation from the Bible about Jesus exorcising demons from men and then forcing them into pigs on a mountain which then go mad and commit suicide.
Ran begins with a mountain boar hunt in which Hidetora kills an old boar without the intention of eating it, and then the chaos begins. This beginning may be an inversion of that Bible quote.