In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
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
In the downpour scenes showing the Rashomon Gate, Akira Kurosawa found that the rain in the background simply wouldn't show up against the light gray backdrop. To solve this problem, the crew ended up tinting the rain by pouring black ink into the tank of the rain machine. The ink is clearly visible on the Woodcutter's face just before the rain stops. See more »
It's horrifying. If men don't trust each other, this earth might as well be hell.
That's right. The world's a kind of hell.
No! I believe in men. I don't want this place to be hell.
Shouting doesn't help. Think about it. Out of these three, whose story is believable?
In the end, you cannot understand the things men do.
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Kurosawa tells a story four times through different characters. The characters tell the story different four times. In flash-backs, all as the characters tell them, we see the stories. Are they lying, are they all telling their own truth or is there someone who tells THE truth? The way this is handled by Kurosawa is absolutely masterful.
Of course, his direction is great. Together with cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa they do a tremendous job with the atmosphere in the woods. With perfect light angles it looks beautiful.
A real Japanese classic.
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