Video Picks Archive
This week my picks are My Life So Far (1999 - ) and Kumonosu jo (Throne of Blood) (1957 - ).
The first film is based on Denis Forman's memoir Son of Adam. For the film, he becomes the character Fraser Pettigrew (Robbie Norman), who grew up in Scotland in the 1920's. His uncle Morris (Malcolm McDowell) brings home his French fiancée: Heloise (Irène Jacob). She causes quite a commotion when she sparks the lust of Fraser's pious father (Colin Firth) and gives 10-year-old Fraser his first "impure" thoughts. My Life So Far is a welcome comeback for Hugh Hudson, who hasn't directed a feature film since 1989's Lost Angels. The characters are drawn well, and Norman's debut performance is hilarious. Other fine additions to the cast are Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Fraser's mother and Rosemary Harris as his "Gamma".
When I think of Scotland, Shakespeare's Macbeth comes to mind. But when a film of the Scottish play comes to mind, it's actually in Japanese. Kurosawa took the famous tale and translated it to one about samurai lords in the second film. Taketori Washizu (Toshiro Mifune) is lost in an endless forest, where he meets a phantom witch who predicts that he will become emperor. At his wife's insistence, he goes about ensuring the prophecy. This is one of Kurosawa's very best, and he does a better job bringing Macbeth to the screen than any English-speaking director could with the original play. It also shows the tremendous range of Mifune's abilities, combining thrilling action with compelling emotion. Absolutely brilliant from the beginning to the astounding finale.
For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
My Life So Far (1999)
Kumonosu jo (1957)
Guide to Star Ratings
Capsule Reviews © 2000 Matt Heffernan