Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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Most of the actors' expressions stay the same, but I feel like they give some emotions into their lines. On the other hand, the main character has exaggerated facial expressions (maybe a bit too much for my taste).
Kurosawa (the director) originally wanted to write the screenplay and hire another director to make the movie but that didn't happen in the end. He wanted to take the play and put it in Japan, mixing 2 different cultures. He shot the film for the audience to be a lesson, not become part of the movie, we're not supposed to sympathize with the characters. I think that the director did an excellent job processing the play into a movie set in Japan (Cinephilia & Beyond). It keeps the important elements from the original play, but some side elements/events are changed.
Some differences between the original and this are, Macbeth is a play this is a movie, Macbeth is set in Scotland, Throne of Blood in Japan, in Macbeth you have 3 witches that tell the prophecy in Throne of Blood its 1 spirit of the forest and then also the other prophecy about how the main character will die is different in both versions (Quora). On the other hand, what's the same is that symbolism plays a big role, power/ambition corrupts some characters and their wives get mad.
Even though it's not a movie I would probably enjoy watching again, I recommend watching it. The reason is that I think not many people have seen any old, Asian, black, and white movies and this could be a good experience. I also think almost everybody saw Macbeth or at least know the story and after watching this they could compare it and make their own opinion. (fun fact Michael Fassbender, who plays Macbeth in the 2015 movie, says that Throne of Blood is his favourite version of Macbeth (Fliist).)
A brilliant adaptation with riveting visuals and a dreadfully nihilistic atmosphere. Although the pacing drags at times, the sets, costumes, and action are outright legendary.
An interesting loose adaptation of Macbeth, switching the setting from Mediaeval Scotland to 16th century Japan. Quite liked how Kurosawa took a Shakespearean play and turned it into a Samurai film. Even though a loose adaptation this film is usually considered one of the best Macbeth adaptations and I definitely recommend it.
It's the middle part of Throne of Blood that drops the film into the mid (70)s. The many scenes on horseback — especially riding through the tangling forest — are breathtaking and the practical effects of the castles and soldiers are commendable, but there is just a lull that doesn't appear in the Scottish Play that does in this one. A Kurosawa regular, Toshiro Mifune, is the central character of Washizu Taketok, our Macbeth. And boy, are his facial expressions a masterclass in acting, which makes his anticipated descent into madness that much more enjoyable. Isuzu Yamada as Washizu Asaji, or Lady Macbeth, is also a haunting character, pulling at her husband's strings until he has ascended to power — Feudal Japan's Cersei Lannister. Except, given the time period, Asaji is deferential to her husband even while "providing" directions; always looking to the floor, always on bended knees. Isuzu's interpretation of the "guilt spot" from the play is her incessant washing of hands to remove the phantom blood, which she does phenomenally. Another change from the play is that instead of three witches, we get one creepy-ass spirit (Chieko Naniwa), who is wholly entertaining, especially when we first meet her. If you're going to watch one scene, it has to be when Taketok's own men turn on him in a seemingly never-ending fury of arrows — it's a delightful spectacle.
Combining elements from the Noh japanese style to a Shakespearean play proves Akira Kurosawa's direction is among the world's best.
Narrative transcends language to prove Shakespeare crafts universal plotlines and Kurosawa crafts universal films. The Macbeth character is presented here with more empathy than any other adaptation, without sacrificing any of the visceral intensity. (5/5)
A slow burn Macbeth with samurai!
Akira Kurosawa's war epic Throne of Blood (1957) is a mystical retelling of William Shakespeare's legendary play Macbeth. This time arming Macbeth with a katana and spear, Kurosawa finds anxiety, paranoia, delirium, and haunting magic within Macbeth as he turns a period drama into a Japanese horror fable. I still prefer Orson Welles' classic film adaptation of Macbeth, but Akira Kurosawa makes Macbeth his own haunting playground with Throne of Blood.
I cannot overstate how much I love and appreciate Kurosawa's direction for Throne of Blood with haunting atmosphere brought about by fog filled forests and eerie spaces of isolation. Whether characters are aimlessly riding horseback, wandering through the forest on foot, or pacing back and forth in their room, Throne of Blood is rife with suspense. I was riveted by the tension of decisions that must be made and the striking ghostly appearance. Kurosawa's direction is compelling to the bittersweet end.
I really found Asakazu Nakai's cinematography for Throne of Blood striking. The ultra wide shots of horses galloping full speed across dark fields or sprinting through fog in the forest to be wonderfully haunting. Let Throne of Blood enshroud you in a chilling fog of nightmares and destiny. Masanori Kobayashi's make-up is excellent, especially for Toshiro Mifune in his gaunt getup. Yoshiro Muraki's samurai costumes are as cool as feudal era Japan outfits get. From layered armor, individualized flags, ornate swords, minimalist sets, and decorative kimonos, Throne of Blood visually has it all.
Macbeth really is all about choice. No one makes him commit atrocities, yet he does them because he heard a prophecy. Macbeth is the quintessential example of a self fulfilling prophecy as he continually chooses the path of violence, greed, and cruelty all while screaming about the disloyalty of others. He commits regicide and still feigns virtue. Here, the raving Toshiro Mifune is perfectly cast as the mad Macbeth stand-in Taketori Washizu. His brutal antics and brooding plotting is fun to watch. Mifune is always funny as he plays eccentric characters, but in Throne of Blood he twists his manic energy into one of hellish deviousnesses with a penchant for deception. His shocked faces and yells during the arrow finale is just something else.
I really enjoyed Isuzu Yamada as Lady Asaji Washizu. Her Lady Macbeth portrayal is cold and calculating instead of raving mad with desires of ambition. Her depiction is full of quiet, subtle moments to convince Mifune to act out his murderous scheme. Akira Kubo is interesting as Mifune's partner in crime Yoshiteru Miki. His nonchalance in conspiring to regicide is just a lecherous as Washizu's part in his murder plot. Takashi Shimura has a nice supporting role as Noriyasu Odagura. His brilliant plan to camouflage their army in shrubbery, foliage, and entire trees leads to the coolest imagery of Mifune looking out the window to moving trees coming for him. Samurais charging will always be cool imagery, but lethargically shifting trees with clear forward momentum is just striking filmmaking.
I wish Throne of Blood had better music instead of a slightly annoying flute melody to go above the lackluster classical score from Masaru Sato. If Sato had composed more music for underneath some of the drier scenes, Throne of Blood might have felt less of a drag to get through. Far too much of Throne of Blood is left empty in silence, which just isn't that fun or contemplative as there's not that much ambient sounds here either.
So I must mention that Throne of Blood is one of Akira Kurosawa's slowest films. It's clearly deliberate on Kurosawa's part as editor because characters are anxiously awaiting for news from the battlefield or the whereabouts of their foes. However, I have to be completely honest and say that Throne of Blood meanders a lot more than Kurosawa's other features. You get lots of edits of actors riding horses across fields and wandering around the woods. This is genuinely creepy and builds atmosphere, but it could have been more tightly edited by Kurosawa without having long shots that linger far too long. The slow song that the evil spirit sings is embarrassingly slow much like the long-winded opening announcing the battle was won. For being 108 minutes, Throne of Blood feels twice that length unlike Kurosawa's other briskly paced films. Throne of Blood is impressively directed and crafted, but I find Kurosawa's pacing here to not hold up to contemporary standards.
So, I would recommend Throne of Blood for fans of unorthodox Shakespeare adaptations and samurai film fans, but the average movie-goer might fall asleep before getting to the ghostly prophet, let alone the fantastic arrow riddled finale.
The greatest adaptation of a Shakespeare play I've ever seen.
I have favorite films that feature some type of prophecy in them, so it’s not a plot device that is a deal-breaker for me. However, early on in Throne of Blood there is a prophecy that is entirely too detailed. It shares basically all the major steps that the film will take and only leaves us to wonder the details of how that will happen. And, because I’ve seen a movie before, I know that these things will inevitably come true (otherwise, what we be the point of the prophecy.) As a result, the film felt like a waiting game. I couldn’t stop feeling like it was dragging the whole way through because I knew where it would end. It also doesn’t take the most pleasant path to get to that conclusion, which turned me off at times. Also, the art on the DVD box spoiled one of the climactic shots of the film, so I even saw that coming. There’s simply something flat and uninteresting about watching a movie when you don’t have any mystery about what will happen next. That’s not to say that the film is entirely without merit. I do like the exploration of the fact that knowing the future can change our future. It could be argued that none of the events that take place in the film would have happened if the two main characters didn’t already know they were going to happen. This kind of causality loop is fascinating to me, and is the kind of thing I like to explore in time travel movies. But this movie doesn’t seem all that interested in exploring that conundrum, instead it’s more about watching the main character driven crazy by paranoia. I also wanted to mention that this is the second or third Kurosawa movie where a manipulative wife has ruined things for the main character. I’m not sure if it’s a cultural thing, or Kurosawa doesn’t like women all that much, but it sure makes Isuzu Yamada seem like the villain of the entire story. Aside from that, there are some interesting aspects to Throne of Blood, but it simply dragged too much for me and felt extremely depressing. It’s in contention for my least favorite Kurosawa film at this point (which is still better than the best movies from some lesser directors.)
8 9 9 9 8 9 8 8 8 8 = 84
We may see it like a stage drama, the movements of characters are interesting, but it relatively minimize the iconic energy of Akira Kurosawa in the domain of cinematography.