Language : Japanese
Directed and edited by Akira Kurosawa
Time for an other Kurosawa movie on the blog and this time it’s just one bandit and one samurai.
The movie kicks of with the movie trying to grab your attention about its story which it does smoothly just a minute into the film. A monk and a regular ‘Japanese’ Joe (a wood cutter) are taking shelter in a broken down place called ‘Rashomon’ from the heavy storm outside. And the first line of the movie goes “I have never heard of a story so strange”, believe me once you are done with the movie you’ll call up at least 10 of your friends and will be screaming out “mate have you seen Rashomon, if u haven’t, watch it buddy. And if you can come home, we’ll watch it again together”.
Then an other guy runs into the building. The guys already there keep telling the same thing over and over again to the 3rd guy that they have never heard of a thing like this, they don’t think they can trust the human soul anymore and other such lines which’ll just stir you up with interest about what kind of a story can be so freaking strange.
The wood cutter starts telling him about what happened in the court house that day about a murder issue. A bandit had raped a girl and killed the girl’s husband after that. This is how simple it’s supposed to sound without the Akira touch to it.
The bandit claims that after he had raped the lady, she had begged him to take a fight with her husband and that she’ll go with the survivor of the fight. Coz she can’t let her shame be known to two men and that was why he had killed the husband even though he had no such intentions in the first place.
Then the wife claims that she couldn’t take the cold stare of betrayal her husband had given her after being raped and she had fainted. And what happened next is supposed to be a blur from the wife’s perspective.
The dead man has his own story. Wondering how the dead man can talk? Wait for the Kurosawa horror episode to take you by surprise. And finally the wood cutter tells us what really happened.
The beauty of the film is how easily you can make out the lies told from the first three stories, especially the girl’s totally unconvincing story.
There is another ambiguity to the film’s already abstract sense. Whenever somebody is talking to the judge in the courthouse, the judge or the other side of the screen is not shown. So the whole movie can be taken as a confession before God or it can be just the judge. WE can never know how a guy like Akira would want the audience to perceive his movies.
Unlike Seven Samurai which takes a while to grab your attention, this movie is bloody quick and greatly engrossing. Some of the camera work in this movie is something which is hard to visualize even today.