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1980, 20th Century Fox, 179 min, Japan/USA, Dir: Akira Kurosawa

In 16th-century Japan, Lord Shingen Takeda is killed by an enemy sharp-shooter and a condemned thief (Tatsuya Nakadai) who looks uncannily like Takeda must take the ruler’s place. Shakespearean in scope, Akira Kurosawa's epic period drama won the Palme d'Or at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.

1985, Rialto Pictures, 160 min, Japan, Dir: Akira Kurosawa

In Akira Kurosawa's epic and existential samurai/Noh theater rendition of Shakespeare's "King Lear," a once-merciless and bloodthirsty Lord Hidetora (Tatsuya Nakadai) leaves his kingdom to his three sons. As Hidetora attempts to enjoy retirement in his twilight years, he is dropped into a nightmarish hell when filial squabbling and betrayal erupts. In Japanese with English subtitles.

1990, Warner Bros., 119 min, Japan, Dir: Akira Kurosawa, Ishiro Honda

One of maestro Akira Kurosawa’s last films is an anthology of eight dream episodes adapted from the director’s own nocturnal reveries. The mysteries of childhood, nature and man’s seemingly eternal predilection for self-destruction are the main themes, depicted simply and with a sense of childlike wonder. Kurosawa drew on the fantasy-cinema expertise of a lifelong friend, director Ishiro Honda (GOJIRA), who was uncredited codirector on the episodes "The Tunnel" and "Mount Fuji in Red" as well as the prologue and epilogue of "The Weeping Demon." Another master filmmaker, Martin Scorsese, also participated, but as an actor, giving a very convincing portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in "The Crows" segment. Another one of Kurosawa’s splendid visual achievements that really needs to be seen on the big screen.

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