Screengrab: Arrows of Fear, Japanese Style

Ttv-watching-oldRichard Lutz dives into this week’s TV schedules to surface with the movie that matters.

It’s fitting that I check out the film listings for the box while in Scotland.

That’s because the best of a good week is Throne of Blood (Thurs, 11am, Film4).

It is Japanese maestro Akira Kurosawa’s best – an atmospherically eerie rendition of Macbeth, nothing less.

Superstar Toshiro Mifune, who burst onto the screen with Seven Samurai, is the driven medieval king on the edges of Mt Fuji – and ultimately on the edges of sanity.

It is a black and white film from 1957 and so finely shot that looking back you feel you saw a colour movie – all mists, mountain scenery, glorious costumes, huge wooden castles built of wood and stone.

Kurosawa liked a bit of van Triers-like reality. So get this: when Mifune is trapped and ready to die as the warrior king, the director had real arrows shot at the actor. The face you see from Mifune is the face of fear – he must have been seriously reassessing his career (and his last will and testament) as those things were aimed at him to just miss.

By the way, Film4 must be applauded for transmitting a good deal of Kurosawa movies this month – albeit at the weird late morning time of 11am. Ahhhh well, it’ll help the hard drive industry.