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Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Japan 1957 111 mins. In Japanese

One of the most enduring cinematic “twists on Shakespeare” is Akira Kurosawa’s take on Macbeth, which relocates the play to 15th century feudal Japan. Two warriors returning from battle encounter an eerie spirit in the forest who promises them great fortune upon their return. Spurred on by the spirit’s prophecy—and the power-hungry manipulations of his conniving wife—one of the warriors, Washizu (Kurosawa favorite Toshiro Mifune), decides to betray and murder his warlord to fulfill his foretold destiny as the Lord of Spider Web Castle. Kurosawa’s brilliantly staged set pieces—the chilling encounter with the forest spirit, the fog-suffused battle sequences, the tangle of arrows at the devastating finale—elevate the film far beyond the realm of mere adaptation. Shot on the slopes of Mt. Fuji and filled with moody, atmospheric cinematography, Throne of Blood “remains a landmark of visual strength, permeated by a particularly Japanese sensibility, and is possibly the finest Shakespearean adaptation ever committed to the screen.”—The  Guardian. In Japanese with English subtitles.