The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, January 13-19

Toshirô Mifune in Akira Kurosawa’s THRONE OF BLOOD (1957). Courtesy Film Forum. Playing January 18.
Courtesy Film Forum.

Throne of Blood (1957)
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
In the midst of sleepwalking, Lady Macbeth murmured, “who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him,” a subconscious reaction to her hand in King Duncan’s death. In Kurosawa’s emotive version of the play, Isuzu Yamada—stone-faced and barbarous as Lady Asaji Washizu—begins the film pallid and stoic, and ends up frantically scrubbing blood off of her hands as her husband, Taketoki Washizu, idly stands by, refusing to accept their doomed fate. In this visceral, calculated masterpiece, The Bard’s play is reborn in feudal Japan amidst a fog-cloaked backdrop, high atop Mt. Fuji. The Weird Sisters are instead an arcane forest spirit who warns Washizu of what’s to come, but the animalistic warrior (a hardened, flawless Toshiro Mifune) is too high on his victories to pay attention to such matters, and instead ends up filled with arrows like St. Sebastian. Samantha Vacca (January 18, 3:10pm, 5:20pm, 7:30pm, 9:40pm at Film Forum’s “Stratford on Houston”)

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