Close Up

28 March 2018: Throne of Blood


Throne of Blood
Akira Kurosawa
1957 | 104 min | B/W | 35mm
Japanese with English subtitles

"Although the script uses not a single line from its source, Kurosawa’s celebrated transplantation of Macbeth to the lawless realm of 16th-century Japan counts among the finest screen adaptations of Shakespeare ever realised, a faithful rendition of the story that works perfectly within its own historical context. Its title translates literally as "Spider’s Web Castle", and the gothic setting of a deserted castle filled with dark shadows and swathed in fog forms the perfect frame for Mifune’s tortured turn as Washizu, the samurai usurper haunted by past crimes. The austere staging and performances, drawing upon traditional Noh theatre, lend an appropriate note of theatricality to proceedings, blurring the gap between the real and the supernatural, while Kurosawa surpasses even himself with the quite jaw-dropping climax as Washizu’s violent misdeeds catch up with him." – Jasper Sharp

Part of our essential cinema programme