20100421

[frames] akira kurosawa: 蜘蛛巣城

Kumonosu-jō or Throne of Blood, respectively, follows the story of feudal warrior Taketori Washizu who happens upon a forest spirit that prophesizes his ascension to the throne. Kindled by his ambitious wife, Lady Asaji, to fulfill his destiny, Washizu murders the current ruler Tsuzuki but is soon overcome by guilt and faced with the suspicions of others which ultimately lead to his own demise.

There is something supremely chilling about Lady Asaji whose stoic, controlled demeanor and way of speaking veil something much more abysmal. Before shooting, director Akira Kurosawa gave each of the actors a photograph of a noh mask, under the premise that "while staring at it, the actor becomes the man whom it represents [...] and in devoting himself to [the performance] faithfully, the actor becomes possessed." (Cardullo, 65, via) The mask he showed to Isuzu Yamada (Asaji) was the one named shakumi which personifies "a beauty no longer young, and represent[s] the image of a woman about to go mad." Kudos to Mrs. Yamada for her splendid performance. The actress turned 93 in February.

The following scene has Asaji suggesting a way to dispose of Tsuzuki to her husband which includes narcotizing his guards with drugged saké. Asaji, bearing a steady, blank expression on her face, leaves the room, disappearing completely into the dark, and shortly thereafter returns with a large carafe of saké. The only audible sound throughout this part of the scene is the regular slithering rustle of her kimono over the floor. This specific part starts about 3 minutes into the video:

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