Monday, July 20, 2015

Rashomon (1950)

A travelling Samurai is murdered, his wife is raped, and the man responsible is captured. At the trial, several different versions of how the events unfolded come to light. Exactly, what did happen?

Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon is an enigma. Not quite understood in Japan or America, but loved nonetheless. The Academy Award for best foreign language film, maybe, was created specifically for this film. This is what made Kurosawa an international filmmaker. It is marvelous storytelling, wonderfully shot, and edited to perfection. All hallmarks of the director.

Frequently described as telling the same story from different "perspectives", but make no mistake: all but one version (at best) are lies. The viewer must tease out the agenda of each version to maybe piece together some semblance of truth. Once each story is told, and the character's true nature further revealed, then you must reevaluate what you think you know.

It's not quite accurate to say Rashomon would stand up to a second viewing. It absolutely demands one. The story and characters, despite being alien in time and culture, read true to American audiences. I can't say how I would feel off the film after a second time, but for now AMRU 4.
"It's human to lie. Most of the time we can't even be honest with ourselves."

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