RashomonDirector: Akira Kurosawa
This landmark film is a brilliant exploration of truth and human weakness. It opens with a priest, a woodcutter, and a peasant taking refuge from a downpour beneath a ruined gate in 12th-century Japan. The priest and the woodcutter, each looking stricken, discuss the trial of a notorious bandit for rape and murder. As the retelling of the trial unfolds, the participants in the crime -- the bandit (Toshiro Mifune), the rape victim (Machiko Kyo), and the murdered man (Masayuki Mori) -- tell their plausible though completely incompatible versions of the story. In the bandit's version, he and the man wage a spirited duel after the rape, resulting in the man's death. In the woman's testimony, she is spurned by her husband after being raped. Hysterical with grief, she kills him. In the man's version, speaking through the lips of a medium, the bandit beseeches the woman after the rape to go away with him. She insists that the bandit kill her husband first, which angers the bandit. He spurns her and leaves. The man kills himself. Seized with guilt, the woodcutter admits to the shocked priest and the commoner that he too witnessed the crime. His version is equally feasible, although his veracity is questioned when it is revealed that he stole a dagger from the crime scene. Just as all seems bleak and hopeless, a baby appears behind the gate. The commoner seizes the moment and steals the child's clothes, while the woodcutter redeems himself and humanity in the eyes of the troubled priest, by adopting the infant.
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Cast & Crew
|Toshiro Mifune||Tajomaru, the Bandit|
|Masayuki Mori||Takehiro, the Nobleman|
|Machiko Kyo||Masago, the Wife|
|Fumio Hayasaka||Score Composer|
|So Matsuyama||Art Director|
|Shinobu Muraki||Production Designer|
|Yoshiro Muraki||Production Designer|
|Masaichi Nagata||Executive Producer|
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This movie is simply amazing. It was the first Akira Kurosawa film I had ever seen, and I instantly wanted more. The presentation of each different story keeps the movie interesting, and the cinematography is great.
This is a fantastic film. It was my second Kurosawa film, after the 'Throne of Blood'. The cinematography is non-pareil, fluidily placing the camera-work at the most important points of action. This allows for the film to explore the multiple perspectives we see debated in the dialogue through metaphorical angles accentuating each character's firgurative and literal veiw-point. The subject of 'Rashomon' is ingenious as well. It is a film that is entirely self-consious of its own art, in that it openly explores the very idea of truth in story-telling. That is to say, that after the veiwer has labored over whose version of the tale to beleive, they can then expand and veiw the film more globally and wonder not if, but how Kurosawa's telling of the events(though fictional) is tainted or skewed as a result of the self-same human condition that mark his characters' versions.
Aw heck, when i was a-sittin' in the pasture with bessie, i lerned this flick was good. i seen 'er twunty times, an' that be more than i ever seed. go view this 'un and watch the cattle graze.
I saw this movie in a Film History course I was taking and I was excited to see (finally) a movie by the legendary Akira Kurosawa. Unfortunately (for me at least) the movie did not live up to the legend. Don't get me wrong, the movie is a classic and it was revolutionary. I just feel like the movie I saw advertised too much what it was trying to accomplish and thus blew subtlety out the window. Other than Mifune, the acting was pretty horrible. The movie definitely goes into the category of old movies that were marred by actors who had not yet gotten used to working in front of a camera. That's not meant as an insult to the actors it's just indicative of a different discipline (stagework). The end result is a movie that was important in the history of film but ultimately feels very dated. I cannot speak to the quality of Kurosawa's other movies as I have not seen them, though opinion is overwhelmingly favorable. I have netflixed Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood though.