Sceneplay: Ran

first_imgby Ross PhilipsIn today’s cinema the truly epic battle scene has been replaced by computer generated images. Although the capabilities of CGI to create realistic and sophisticated battle animations have grown incredibly over the last ten years, it’s just not the same as seeing real armies and actual destruction. The most truly epic and beautiful battle scene ever captured on film is not in the Lord of the Rings. It is the attack on Hidetora’s castle, in Ran, Akira Kurosawa’s samurai inspired adaptation of King Lear. In this scene, Lord Hidetora Ichimonji, brilliantly portrayed by Tatsuya Nakadai, is betrayed by his son, Taro, to whom he has bequeathed his crown. Instead of using fast paced editing, sound effects, and handy-cams in order to immerse  us in a first person perspective of the battle, Kurosawa uses long takes with the camera watching from high above as thousands of samurai warriors storm the castle. He shows scenes of incredible carnage, piles of bodies strewn with arrows, a man holding his severed arm, another man who has been shot through the eye with an arrow; however, instead of the sounds of battle, Kurosawa plays only the dramatic orchestral score. This allows the audience to reflect on what is being shown. Kurosawa often cuts away from these images of carnage to show the sun shining through the clouds, creating a visual metaphor of the heavens above juxtaposed with hell on earth. It is as if the camera is the eye of God watching from above.The scene ends with Hidetora sitting motionless as arrows fly around his head and his castle burns around him. All of his bodyguards and his concubines have been killed. The troops outside wait for the castle to finish burning down expecting that Hidetora will commit suicide rather than dishonor himself in defeat, but to their amazement Hidetora emerges from the smoke. He slowly walks down the steps towards the samurai army. Instead of attacking him the soldiers move to create a path for him to walk through. Despite his now pitiful state they are unwilling to attack the man who was once their tyrannical leader. As Hidetora walks through the gates of the exterior wall, Kurosawa frames the burning castle behind him. What makes this scene truly amazing is that there is no CGI. Kurosawa built a castle solely for the purpose of burning it down in order to film this one scene. For this reason, each shot in the scene had to be filmed in one take. Kurosawa manages to pull it off flawlessly. When it was released in 1985, Ran the most expensive ever made in Japan; however, this scene set a benchmark of excellence not only for Japan, but also for cinema around the world.last_img read more

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“There are measures in place to ensure your removal”: Keble students return without permission

first_imgThe statement on Keble Noticeboard continued that “College is aware of who has turned up unannounced” and that such students “will be removed from college… you cannot retrospectively say that exemptions apply. If you do not decide to leave, there are measures in place to ensure your removal.” Students have been reportedly arriving at night and asking for keys from the Porter’s Lodge or using room keys that they held over the Christmas vacation. While the statement did not confirm how many students had returned by this method, it did give some idea of who: “it will come as no surprise that freshers have been specifically mentioned as coming back without permission”. The Domestic Bursar further made clear that “communal spaces within College will only remain open if social distancing is adhered to, any transgressions and these areas will be shut, this also applies to communal kitchens.” An email from Keble College’s Domestic Bursar stated that “those of you who have arrived back in College without permission… have been reported to the Dean.” It further mentioned that the lodge will now turn away any students who simply arrive without having received prior permission. However, the email from the Domestic Bursar mentioned that any students’ requests to return would have to wait for further information from the University: “as soon as we have guidance from the University as to when and how you can come back we will be in touch.” They have also stated that university guidelines and further college information will follow later this week. They have urged for people to take the current situation in the UK seriously and follow the rules of contacting the accommodation office and asking for permission to return if there is a legitimate reason to do so: “There have been many people who have done so and college has had absolutely no problem with people returning under these circumstances”. Students from Keble College have been “turning up to the college without any permission or having informed the accommodation office”, according to a post on their student noticeboard. Cherwell has contacted Keble College for comment. Image Credit: Nikos D. Karabelas. Licence: CC BY 4.0.last_img read more

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Should Mount Everest be Closed Forever?

first_imgPhoto Courtesy of Göran HöglundAfter a devastating earthquake rattled Nepal on April 25, killing thousands and triggering an avalanche that obliterated an Everest base camp, prominent people within the Mount Everest climbing community have called for a reprieve. Those calls were amplified this week when another powerful earthquake struck the tiny Asian country not far from the epicenter of the original, killing dozens more.Some of these voices, like that of Mission 14 Founder Nick Cienski, who was present at Base Camp at the time of the avalanche that killed as many as 18 climbers, are requesting that people refrain from tackling Everest for the remainder of the year.Cienski says that attempting to climb Everest is just too dangerous right now because the mountain is too volatile and unpredictable.This video shows raw and disturbing footage of the avalanche that killed as many as 17 people at Everest Base Camp.“The thinking here is that a lot of stuff got shaken, but it didn’t all fall,” he told Jayme Moye for an article published in Men’s Journal. “Whether it falls today, tomorrow, or next month, no one knows. Even though there are not massive avalanches in the Icefall right now, the feeling is that everything is just more teetering than it was.”Cienski also pointed to those effected in Nepal and said that the efforts of his crew members should be directed at them rather than another summiting of the world’s tallest mountain.“The pivotal moment came when we learned that our partner organization had suffered damage to their building,” he told Moye. “It was a safe house where women had been rescued from brothels in India. After that, we thought, ‘what are we doing here? We want to climb this based on what?’ It made infinitely more sense to pack it up and get our butts to Kathmandu and help those organizations we’d pledged to help.”While Cienski calls for a temporary closure of Everest in response to the recent chain of natural disasters, others are pointing to a more permanent solution.Jan Morris was present at the base of Everest in 1953 when Sir Edmund Hillary and sherpa Tenzing Norway arrived after completing the first ever summit of the 29,000 foot peak. She says that the sanctity of Everest has been compromised since the days of Hillary and Norgay, and believes the mountain should be closed to climbing altogether.“It (Everest) reminded me of some magnificent wild beast, dressed up for a circus performance or a TV show,” she said, in an article published in the NewStatesman. “And in the course of this display, people lost their lives – Sherpas, climbers and tourists alike – to remind us now and then that it was not all make-believe.”Morris is not the first to voice such concerns. As the popularity of climbing Everest has increased, so has the amount of garbage strewn about it’s valleys and the corpses of climbers who died trying to make the summit—many of which can never be removed due to limited aerial access. All of this makes you wonder if Jan Morris has a point. Should Everest be closed forever?last_img read more

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