Rashomon (1950) Review: Must Watch Classic
Quote from a movie – It’s human to lie. Most of the time, we can’t even be honest with ourselves—Rashomon (1950). My rating 8.5/10.
Director- Influential director Akira Kurosawa. Also directed
outstanding films like Ikiru (1952), Ran (1985), and one of the greatest and
my favourite movie Seven Samurai (1954).
Cinematography- Kazuo Miyagawa. Fact – This film is often given credit for the first time a camera was pointed directly at the sun and A very early use of the “hand-held” camera technique.
Cast- Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo.
Synopsis – Rashomon (1950) a Japanese Movie, Crime/Drama, A notorious bandit who assaults the bride and kills her husband (Samurai). The story is said from multiple viewpoints, A Bandit, the Ghost of husband, The Bride, and a Priest and poor Woodcutter who witnessed the crime.
Rashomon rewrote the rules of a film’s narrative style, almost unprecedented at the time. Initially, after seeing 30 min, we assume that it’s just the same incident from a different point of view. Maybe some are lying to cover-up the horrible things that they did and blaming others; hence the story contradicting each other. However, it’s not that simple… Every story with its self-serving motivation and subjective memory. And every tale said in front of the camera like they are speaking to us like we are the judges we have to decide which one is true. For instance, In the bandit story, he killed the Samurai honourably because Bride insists on the battle between them, so one must die… In the bride’s story, She says she did nothing wrong she is pitiful deserves sympathy…
As every testimony unfolds, we audience curiously whats to find the meaning of the story. And we decipher which one is true, why did they lied whats the motivation or did they fail to recall what happened and to fill the gaps of their memories …..
The man just wants to forget the bad stuff and believe in the made-up good stuff. It’s easier that way.
In the final minutes of the movie, after the truth revealed, we thought to ourselves is every one selfish, cruel, but it doesn’t leave us hanging. There is a short scene between the priest and the woodcutter that shows hope and faith in humanity. The scene may be short, but it is impactful, and also my favourite scene from the movie.
Besides Akira Kurosawa, I don’t think anyone can tell this story as he did. Director Akira Kurosawa made history. Rashomon introduced Japanese movies to the world. It was the first japan film to receive Oscar. The movie received an Honorary Oscar award at that time, there is no award for foreign language.
Like all films of Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon tells the story mainly through visuals, with the fantastic camera angles, best use of atmosphere, lighting, impressive editing, Rashomon never feels outdated and never will be. Even though the same episode shows multiple times, it never felt as repeated, because of the brilliant performance by the actors, changing their persona according to the view point, makes us invest more in the movie.
Conclusion: Rashomon is simple at the same time comprehensive story, With courageous decisions and stunning visual direction. My rating 8.5/10.