A priest, a woodcutter and another man are taking refuge from a rainstorm in the shell of a former gatehouse called Rashômon. The priest and the woodcutter are recounting the story of a murdered samurai whose body the woodcutter discovered three days earlier in a forest grove. Both were summoned to testify at the murder trial, the priest who ran into the samurai and his wife traveling through the forest just before the murder occurred. Three other people who testified at the trial are supposedly the only direct witnesses: a notorious bandit named Tajômaru, who allegedly murdered the samurai and raped his wife; the white veil cloaked wife of the samurai; and the samurai himself who testifies through the use of a medium. The three tell a similarly structured story - that Tajômaru kidnapped and bound the samurai so that he could rape the wife - but which ultimately contradict each other, the motivations and the actual killing being what differ. The woodcutter reveals at Rashômon that he ... Written by
Even during high noon the parts of the forest that the crew needed to shoot in were still too dark. Rather than use a regular foil reflector, which did not bounce enough light, Akira Kurosawa and cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa opted to use a full-length mirror "borrowed" from Daiei's costume department. The crew bounced light from the mirror through leaves and trees to soften it and make it look more like natural sunlight. Miyagawa later called it the most successful lighting effect he had ever done. See more »
If men don't trust each other, this earth might as well be hell.
Right. The world's a kind of hell.
No! I don't want to believe that!
No one will hear you, no matter how loud you shout. Just think. Which one of these stories do you believe?
None makes any sense.
Don't worry about it. It isn't as if men were reasonable.
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A rare and a unique masterpiece from the master himself
As oppose to its commonplace plot, Rashomon as a concept is extraordinarily idiosyncratic and perhaps it is this striking attribute that makes it an undisputed masterpiece, howsoever improbable. It vividly limns the artistry of contrivance innate in the human psyche owing to the importunate desire of humans to placate their insatiable egos. This manipulation of facts has no limits and entirely depends upon the skill of imaginative improvisation of the individual along with his level of comfort at skullduggery. The ability to misinterpret comes naturally to the humans as a desperate ploy to counter the adversities of life and that's what makes it indispensable. As a direct consequence of contrivance, the concept of truth no longer remains universal but becomes rather subjective and a matter of individualistic perception.
Rashomon pioneered Kurosawa's dream tryst with perpetual brilliance and undoubtedly played a pivotal part in making his name a mark of excellence in the world of cinema. Rashomon is a well knitted tale about a supercilious samurai, his whimsical wife and a boorish bandit. The bandit inveigles the samurai into imprisonment and has his way with samurai's wife. The dead body of the samurai is later discovered under mysterious circumstances by a woodcutter. The bandit is captured and arraigned along with the deranged widow of the samurai. Their narrated versions seem such contrasting that a psychic is called upon to conjure up the dead samurai's spirit to record his testimony in order to corroborate the facts that seemed excessively manipulated. The samurai's version yet again differs considerably from the testimonies of the other two. Each version though different seemed to satiate the respective ego of the testifier. The woodcutter, who didn't want to get involved personally, later confesses to a priest to have actually witnessed the incident and comes up with a version of his own which falsifies the other three. The movie is ingenious as its actual motive has nothing to do with the revelation of truth as verity is merely a matter of lame perception, but rather is to highlight the discrepancies among the different versions as a medium to depict the irrational complexities associated with the human psyche.
The concept of Rashomon though well ahead of its time, sowed the seeds for creative innovation in the world of cinema and has served as the undisputed benchmark of innovative excellence for well over five decades. A quintessential Kurosawa classic, strongly recommended to the masses for its sheer brilliance and enigmatic charm. 10/10
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