Throne of Blood on VHS. Starring Toshiro Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Minoru Chiaki, Takashi Shimura. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. 1957.
From the box:
Akira Kurosawa’s savage, free-flowing adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth plunges viewers into an eerie, fog-shrouded world of madness and obsession. Set in medieval Japan during a period of feudal conflict, Kurosawa’s masterpiece combines the stylization of the Noh theater with the dynamic energy of the American Western to tell the tragic story of an ambitious warlord. Toshiro Mifune gives one of his finest performances as the proud warrior who is destroyed by his wife’s murderous greed and his own all-consuming desire for power. From its first frenzied battle sequences to the brutal climax, in which the entire forest seems to move against Mifune, [spoiler removed], Kurosawa’s brilliantly staged classic is a cinematic triumph.
DVD Upgrade: Throne of Blood (The Criterion Collection)
Rashomon on VHS. Starring Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura, Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Based on the novel In the Forest by Ryunosuke Hashimoto. 1950.
From the box:
A cinema classic, Rashomon introduced the Western world to the greatness of Akira Kurosawa and paved the way for fellow masters of the Japanese film industry. Characteristic of Kurosawa’s humanism and innovative narrative style, this eloquent masterpiece illuminates the subjectivity of truth through flashbacks, vigorous editing and luminous photography. Four different narrators describe the same brutal act — a woman’s rape and her husband’s consequent death — yet the facts elude us because each interprets the story to make himself appear in the best light. Through subtle gestures, Machiko Kyo (Ugetsu, Gate of Hell) conveys the woman’s supreme loss at the hands of her attacker, played by Toshiro Mifune (Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood) with a savage heat. This visually rich tale poignantly confronts man’s potential for kindness and corruption.
DVD Upgrade: Rashomon
Watch Now: Rashomon