"Ran" (1985) is one of the deepest films directed by Akira Kurosawa. Every character evokes emotions and makes the viewer think about his life circumstances.
The very first episode with boar hunt is symbolic. Three brothers are watching in different directions, but then are hunting one boar. Hidetora compares himself with this old boar, whose skin is tough and stinks. In this episode we see how his sons behave toward their father. The youngest - Saburo, really cares about Hidetora and we see this when Hidetora falls asleep and Saburo cuts branches to make a shade for his sleeping parent. Hidetora can't see this sign of care, so it is a genuine, thoughtful attitude of a son to his father.
In the next episode when Saburo argues with Hidetora we see that he has no illusions and knows well what kind of person his father is. He's concerned about Hidetora’s decision to give the power to the elder son and divide responsibilities of managing the lands among his younger sons.
Like the King Lear’s youngest daughter, Saburo tells the truth and is banished for this. Richie compares "Ran" with the King Lear, mentioning about its "bits of Japanese history" (Richie, 214).
I think that the main idea of this film is that evil begets evil. We see this in Hidetora's elder sons and Lady Kaede, whose parents were killed by Hidetora. His meanness and cruelty made these monsters, who killed each other and plunged the land into the war. He didn't teach his sons kindness and generosity.
In the episode when Saburo and Hidetora die, Tango reproaches Kyoami for his weeping and words addressed to the God and Buddha. He tells Kyoami not to blaspheme, because people kill each other, but not gods kill them. I agree with Yoshimoto, who writes that this sounds naive and overstated (Yoshimoto, 358). But I think that such a dramatic story must be finished with these words.
Richie, Donald. The films of Akira Kurosawa. 3rd ed. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1996. Print.
Yoshimoto, Mitsuhiro. Kurosawa: film studies and Japanese cinema. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000. Print.