The title of Ran, Akira Kurosawa’s sweeping 1985 adaptation of King Lear, translates as “chaos.” True to Shakespeare, that’s precisely what ensues when a dottering medieval lord (Tatsuya Nakadai) unwisely cedes power. We all know the tragic story (only with three sons instead of daughters), but the new 35mm print of this great, long film is worth seeing for several reasons. Kurosawa’s famous perfectionism is evident in every well-composed frame. Arrangements of horsemen on green grassy hills are stunning; pre-CGI battle sequences are remarkable, with their color-coded armies and red, red blood. Indoors, daughter-in-law Lady Kaede (Mieko Harada) is unforgettably scary and determined in her drive for vengeance. Naturalistic acting and makeup aren’t the point (both reflect Noh theater); instead, the pageantry and ritual gestures help make an old English play a universal epic. Call or see Web site for showtimes. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Sept. 3-9, 2010

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