Adaptations have varied relations to their source material, making it hard to formulate a general theory. Avoiding the attempt, we characterize a narrower, more unified class of reflective adaptations which communicate an active and sometimes critical relation to the source's framework. We identify the features of reflective adaptations which give them their distinctive interest. We show how these features are embodied in Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood, an adaptation with a radically shifted perspective on the relation between character and situation compared to its Shakespearean source. We identify some of the artistic choices through which this response to the source is conveyed, such choices being a characteristic feature of reflective adaptations.
Film scholars and enthusiasts will welcome this new edition of Donald Richie's incomparable study, last updated in 1984. The introduction and filmography contain new information, and Richie has added chapters on "Ran", "Dreams", "Rhapsody in August", and "Madadayo". Kurosawa remains unchallenged as one of the century's greatest film directors. Through his long, distinguished career he has managed, like very few others in the teeth of a huge and relentless industry, to elevate each of his films to a distinctive level of art. His "Rashomom" one of the best-remembered and most talked-of films in any language - was a revelation when it appeared in 1950 and did much to bring Japanese cinema to the world's attention. Kurosawa's films display an extraordinary breadth and an astonishing strength, from the philosophic and sexual complexity of "Rashomon" to the moral dedication of "Ikiru", from the naked violence of "Seven Samurai" to the savage comedy of "Yojimbo", from the terror-filled feudalism of "Throne of Blood" to the piercing wit of "Sanjuro".
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