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Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (1957) – Extracts from wikipedia

Throne of Blood (蜘蛛巣城 Kumonosu-jō?, literally, “Spider Web Castle”) is a 1957 Japanese film directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film transposes the plot of William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth to feudal Japan, with stylistic elements drawn from Noh drama.[1]



Generals Miki and Washizu are Samurai commanders under a local lord, Lord Tsuzuki, who reigns in the castle of the Spider’s Web Forest. After defeating the lord’s enemies in battle, they return to Tsuzuki’s castle. On their way through the thick forest surrounding the castle, they meet a spirit, who foretells their future. The spirit tells them that today Washizu will be named master of the North Castle and Miki will now command Fort One. She then foretells that Washizu will eventually become Lord of Forest Castle, and finally she tells Miki that his son will also become lord of the castle.

When the two return to Tsuzuki’s estate, he rewards them with exactly what the spirit had predicted. As Washizu discusses this with Asaji, his wife, she manipulates him into making the second part of the prophecy come true by killing Tsuzuki when he visits. Washizu kills him with the help of his wife, who gives drugged sake to the lord’s guards, causing them to fall asleep. When Washizu returns in shock at his deed, Asaji grabs the bloody spear and puts it in the hands of one of the three unconscious guards. She then yells “murder” through the courtyard, and Washizu slays the guard before he has a chance to plead his innocence.

Tsuzuki’s vengeful son Kunimaru and an advisor to Tsuzuki (and rival of Washizu) named Noriyasu both suspect Washizu as the murderous traitor and try to warn Miki, who refuses to believe what they are saying about his friend. Washizu, though, is unsure of Miki’s loyalty, but he wants to trust his friend and he still plans to let Miki’s son be his heir, since he and Asaji have been unable to bear a child of their own.

Washizu plans to tell Miki and his son about his decision at a grand banquet, but Asaji tells him that she is pregnant, which leaves him with a quandary concerning his heir, as now Miki’s son has to be eliminated. During the banquet Washizu drinks sake copiously because he is clearly agitated, and at the sudden appearance of Miki’s ghost, begins losing control. In his delusional panic, he reveals his betrayal to all by exclaiming that he is willing to slay Miki for a second time, going so far as unsheathing his sword and striking over Miki’s mat. Asaji, attempting to pick up the pieces of Washizu’s blunder, tells the guests that he is drunk and that they must retire for the evening. Then one of his men arrive with the severed head of Miki. The guard also tells them that Miki’s son escaped.

Later, distraught upon hearing of his wife’s miscarriage and in dire need of help with the impending battle with his foes, he returns to the forest to summon the spirit. She tells him that he will not be defeated unless the very trees of Spider’s Web forest rise against the castle. Washizu believes this is impossible and is confident of his victory. Washizu knows he must kill all his enemies, so he tells his troops of the last prophecy, and they share his confidence.

He then finds Asaji in a semi-catatonic state, trying to wash clean the imaginary foul stench of blood from her hands, obviously distraught at her grave misdeeds. Distracted by the sound of his troops moving outside the room, he investigates and is told by a panicked soldier that the trees of Spider’s Web forest “have risen to attack us.” The prophecy has come true and Washizu is doomed.

As Washizu tries to get his troops to attack, they remain still. Finally they turn on their master and begin firing arrows at him to appease Miki’s son and Noriyasu. Washizu finally succumbs to his wounds just as his enemies approach the castle gates. It is revealed that the attacking force is using trees cut down during the previous night to disguise and protect themselves in their advance on the castle.


The castle exteriors were built and shot high up on Mt. Fuji. The castle courtyard was constructed at Toho’s Tamagawa studio, with volcanic soil brought from Fuji so that the ground would match. The interiors were shot in a smaller Tokyo studio. The forest scenes were a combination of actual Fuji forest and studio shots in Tokyo. Washizu’s mansion was shot in the Izu peninsula.[2]

In Kurosawa’s own words, “It was a very hard film to make. We decided that the main castle set had to be built on the slope of Mount Fuji, not because I wanted to show this mountain but because it has precisely the stunted landscape that I wanted. And it is usually foggy. I had decided that I wanted lots of fog for this film… Making the set was very difficult because we didn’t have enough people and the location was so far from Tokyo. Fortunately, there was a U.S. Marine Corps base nearby and they helped a great deal; also a whole MP battalion helped us out. We all worked very hard indeed, clearing the ground, building the set. Our labor on this steep fog-bound slope, I remember, absolutely exhausted us; we almost got sick.”[2]

Washizu’s famous death scene, in which his own archers turn upon him and fill his body with arrows, was in fact performed with real arrows, a choice made to help Mifune produce realistic facial expressions of fear. The arrows seen to impact the wooden walls were not superimposed or faked by special effects, but instead shot by choreographed archers. During filming, Mifune waved his arms, ostensibly because his character was trying to brush away the arrows embedded in the planks; this indicated to the archers the direction in which Mifune wanted to move.


  1. Jump up^ Stephen Prince, The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa (Princeton University Press, 1991),142-147.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b Donald Richie. “Kurosawa on Kurosawa.” Sight and Sound, Spring-Summer and Fall-Winter, 1964.
  3. Jump up^ Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: 1999. ISBN 1-57322-751-X, p. 519.
  4. Jump up^ Derek Malcolm. Akira Kurosawa: Throne of Blood. March 4, November 19, 2008

Transition economies – Change management

Change management. Useful information.

Thesis Statements

A thesis statement:

  • tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence somewhere in your first paragraph that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

Read more onThesis Statement at

British Literature and Film: List of recommended films

Here is the list of films to be viewed during the Course on British Literature and Film, starting on June 1, 2015 with

You may view these films and recommended readings under the links I have found for your convenience.

Year Title Authors
1957 Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (1957). Akira Kurosawa
2011 10.1 Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights (2011) Andrea Arnold
2001 Billy Morrissette’s Scotland, PA (2001) Billy Morrissette
1911/1912 6.1 D.W. Griffith’s Enoch Arden (1911)
6.2 and George Nichols’ The Cry of the Children -1912
Griffith, G. Nichols
1992 11.1 Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) Francis Ford Coppola
1935 9.1 James Whale’s The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) James Whale
1920 7.1 John S. Robertson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)
7.2 J. Charles Haydon’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)
J. S Robertson, J.Charles Haydon
2010 12.1 Matt Reeves’s Let Me In (2010)
12.2 Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In (2008).
Matt Reeves, Tomas Alfredson
1971 Roman Polanski’s Macbeth (1971) Roman Polanski
1921 8.1 Svend Gade’s Hamlet (1921) Svend Gade
2003 Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool (2003) Vishal Bhardwaj
1894-1911 5.1. Serpentine Dances (Edison), 1894
5.2. Sandow the Strongman (Edison), 1894
5.3. Dickson’s Early Experimental Sound Test (Edison), 1895
5.4. Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory (Lumiere), 1895
5.5. Baby’s Lunch (Lumiere), 1895
5.6. The Sprinkler Sprinkled (Lumiere), 1895
5.7. The Kiss (Edison), 1896
5.8. Seminary Girls (Edison), 1897
5.9. Bathing in a Stream (Guy), 1897
5.10. The Four Troublesome Heads (Melies), 1898
5.11. King John (British Mutoscope), 1899
5.12. Marley, or Scrooge’s Ghost (R.W. Paul), 1901
5.13. The “Rip” Films (American Mutoscope and Biograph), 1902
5.14. A Trip to the Moon (Melies), 1902
5.15. Gulliver’s Travels (Melies), 1902
5.16. Faust and Mephistopheles (Guy), 1903
5.17. Alice in Wonderland (Hepworth), 1903
5.18.  The Great Train Robbery (Porter), 1903
5.19. The Life of an American Fireman (Porter), 1903
5.20. Westinghouse Works (Bitzer), 1904
5.21. San Francisco: Aftermath of an Earthquake (Edison), 1906
5.22. The Taming of the Shrew (Griffith), 1908
5.23. Romeo Turns Bandit (Pathe), 1909
5.24. Winsor McCay and His Famous Moving Comics (Vitagraph), 1911
Nickelodeon Show

Edu-news: New Course on starting on June 1, 2015

For Literature and Film lovers, this course is ideal as an introductory course to understanding Film theory, Film history, Film and Literature.

The course includes Literature reviews and Screening of the a list of films for discussions.

Here are some useful resources for studying this topic:

Understanding Film How to Read a Film: Movies, Media, and Beyond  James Monaco
Style & Technical Matter Film Style and Technology: History and Analysis,   Barry Salt. James Monaco
Film Theory Film Theory and Criticism Braudy and Cohen
Film History Film History: an Introduction (readings 11/18/22/24/26) Bordwell and Thompson
“History of American Cinema” Series   UCaliforniaP Musser /  Bower
Film and Literature Film and Literature: An Introduction and Reader Timothy Corrigan
The Cambridge Companion to Literature on Screen Cartmell and Whelehan
Adaptation and Appropriation Julie Sanders

Course Code: CERT.ENGLIT.001

Instructors: to be confirmed.

Start date: June 1st, 2015

Duration: 24 weeks.

To register: