Heaven and Earth

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Japan's answer to Don Simpson -- a flamboyant and brash producer drawn to make flamboyant and brash films -- Haruki Kadokawa takes a turn at the director's chair with this sprawling historical epic featuring a massive budget: a record-breaking five billion yen, and thousands of extras comprising most of the student population from the University of Calgary. Set during the Warring States era (1482-1558), the film opens on the real-life rivalry between feuding warlords Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin. The latter (Takaaki Enoki) begins the film as Nagao Kagetora, the younger brother of the lord of Echigo Province. Encouraged by court retainer Usami Tadayuki (Tsunehiko Watase), he challenges his inept brother for the reigns of power and kills him in an ensuing duel. Soon after becoming lord of the province, he faces a new threat with Takeda Harunobu (Masahiko Tsugawa), lord of the neighboring Kai province. Both have grand dreams of uniting their war-torn land and ruling from the imperial capital of Kyoto. Ultimately, this clash of egos, personalities, and ambitions leads to the cataclysmic 1561 battle of Kawanakajima.

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