Throne of Blood
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Running time: 110 mins
A masterwork that was T.S. Eliot's favourite film, Throne of Blood (1957) is Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's skilful adaptation of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, seamlessly transposed to a feudal, 16th Century Japan. One of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, Macbeth is a study of personal downfall and guilt. Here, Kurosawa's long-time collaborator, Toshiba Mifune, stars as the valiant Samurai warrior Taketoki Washizu, and the legendary Isuzu Yamada plays Asaji, his ambitious and ruthless wife. Washizu serves under the local ruler, Lord Tsuzuki, but one day, his life is transformed after a chance encounter with a ghostly female spirit on return from battle duty. The spirit predicts several things but in particular that Washizu will eventually rise to power, take over the castle and become lord. Washizu encouraged by his ambitious wife is led to kill his master, Lord Tsuzuki, but as with Macbeth, the guilt and suspicions of those around him eventually lead to his ignominious fall. Throne of Blood is considered one of the greatest Shakespearean adaptations on the screen and Kurosawa's genius is to combine tragic drama with the formal elements of Japanese Noh theatre. Dialogue is economic and the drama unfolds across moments of deathly stillness, alternated with crescendos of violent action. Shot high up on the slopes of Mt. Fuji Throne of Blood is the tale of ambition and duplicity set against a ghostly landscape of fog and inescapable doom.
Reservation is not necessary, but places are limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.