Akira Kurosawa‘s 1985 epic tragedy ‘RAN‘ is a masterwork of cinematic storytelling. Visually, the film is expansive — layers of set design and waves of peasants and soldiers fill the landscape of feudal era Japan. The film places its heart inside of a single family, following as an aging warlord divides his kingdom between his three sons and the struggle for power that follows.
UK based print house Black Dragon Press brought Brazilian artist Joáo Ruas into the fold to create a poster for each of the sons. ‘Taro,’ carries the yellow banner, ‘Jiro‘ commands under the red banner, and ‘Saburo,’ the outcast, stands with the blue banner. Each poster is a portrait of the war-torn brothers — the bringer of death, the betrayer, the loyalist.
Ruas acts as the archaic photographer, a witness on the battlefield. His illustration tarnished by the fallen ash, the fire of the battleground shifting his perspective. Ruas keeps his illustration in the balance of the real and the mythic — the horse and garb of the rider are depicted with the utmost care, and the rider — faceless. A brilliant fury. Kurosawa tasks each brother with situations that require quick decisions that either end in the death of their brothers, or themselves. Ruas’ solution combines these fates — the brothers as soldiers. As ghosts.