This week for the Hit Me With Your Best Shot series I got to click a big hole off of my movie-watching bucket list. Up until this time I had never seen a Akira Kurosawa film. I had certainly heard of him but had never gotten around to seeing one of his movies. Well, this week for Best Shot we were assigned Throne of Blood. This is perhaps the perfect introduction for me to Kurosawa because it is his telling of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth- a play I love.
I do think going into watching Throne of Blood it helped me greatly to know the basic story of Macbeth. Otherwise with the subtitles flying by the screen I might have been a little bit confused. Plus, some of the actors look similar and are similarly dressed so it got a little bit confusing.
Luckily I know my Macbeth and so it all basically made sense to me. It is of course the story of the Lord (this case General) who is given a prophecy that he will be King. With the encouragement of his power hungry wife he then orchestrates events to make sure that prophecy comes true. He murders the king and then proceeds to reign in a kind of mania of worry that his crimes will be found out.
It’s all basically here in Throne of Blood. There is a little bit more of the mechanics of battle than you typically see in Macbeth but the basic framework is here. It was a creative technique having Miki’s ghost haunt him at the banquet before he knows that Miki is dead.
I also thought the scenes with Washizu and his wife Asaji were very strong. Washizu must declare an heir and is planning on naming Miku’s son but then becomes convinced to not do so when Asaji says she is pregnant. The baby is stillborn and so he is without an heir and Miku is dead. Miku’s son, however, escapes and later confronts Washizu and the great final scenes occur.
My best shot this week is from the scene where Washizu finds his wife Asaji washing her hands from the blood of her sins. It is my favorite scene in Macbeth and they do it very well here. Most of this movie we are kept at a distance from the characters and emotion is portrayed through loud voices and expressions. However, here we can see their faces and I even think the subtitle says a lot.