Sunday, August 12, 2012

Throne of Blood - Akira Kurosawa

People from the West tend to see Kurosawa's Throne of Blood as an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth (see, for instance, Wikipedia IMDb, and The Guardian, just to mention Google's top 3). This is obviously an oversimplification. Throne of Blood is based on Macbeth but it goes beyond that: it incorporates elements of Noh theatre and is not based on the Western ethos of making good triumph over evil. Instead, the plot of Throne of Blood is circular, with the cycle of violence repeating again and again, without making clear references to morality. The World of Throne of Blood is one where power seeking is the motive of all the characters and moral issues are left outside. These fusions of Buddhist, Japanese, and Western elements were common in Kurosawa's career and gained him criticisms in Japan (where he was seen as a sold-off) and praised in the West (where he was seen as the only understandable Japanese filmmaker)

I don't know if I should recommend Throne of Blood. The movie is obviously a masterpiece, like most of the material produced by Kurosawa. The camera work is simply fantastic, and so are the make up and the attire of the actors. However, modern audiences have lost the sensibility to appreciate silences in movies, which is a constant in this movie. If there is one reason why I would still recommend Throne of Blood to a movie viewer of the 21st century the scene where Taketoki Washizu is killed: much more dramatic and sadist than anything you've seen so far and with far less blood.

Throne of Blood has been re-issued to the market recently by The Criterion Collection.

And youtube auto generated a channel for the movie, available here (I'm obviously no responsible for the content of the channel or any copyrights infringement, etc).

No comments:

Post a Comment