Sunday, August 27, 2006


Watched 'Rashomon' again for the nth time :-). Rashomon is story telling at its best. These 90 minutes unfold wonderfully and leave you wondering of what you have seen. The genius of "Rashomon" is that all of the flashbacks are both true and false. As in 12 Angry Men, here too the Director makes the viewers to create their own conclusion after watching this movie. So I bet that all the viewers would have a different version or understanding of this film.

Rashomon (1950) struck the world of film like a thunderbolt. Directed by Kurosawa in the early years of his career, before he was hailed as a master. It went on to win several awards including the Academy award for best foreign language film. I read in some article that before filming this movie when Akira kurosawa gave the script to his assistant directors, they were unable to understand the story. Rashomon is essentially repetitive as the 'same' tale is told four times, but you never get bored of seeing it again and again. The narrative is that strong and the performances are top notch.

The movie begins with a heavy rain (One of the best rain picturisation I have ever watched. I will be writing about the best rain picturised scenes in my future post). A wood-cutter, a priest and a villager take shelter under the ruined Rashomon gate during thea heavy downpour. They talk about the trial of a murder case that was held in the court on that day. A samurai has been murdered and his wife raped and a local bandit is suspected. the woodcutter and the priest introduces the flashbacks in which the bandit admits that he had killed the man for his wife, and then narrates the incidents that had happened. Later, the wife comes and tells her own version of the story which differs from the bandit's version in many ways. Then, the dead man speaks through a mediator and tells the third version of the story. Which is the correct one?

When the villager is updated with all these three stories, the wood-cutter comes up with a fourth version of the story. He had been a witness to the entire incident but hadn’t told the court about it since he didn’t want to involve in the proceedings. Soon, we come to know that the wood-cutter's story is also not complete. We cannot make out who is lying and what is the truth.

Kurosowa's screenplay is the real gift and the same method is adopted by many writer/directors in movieworld for e.g. 'the usual suspects', 'courage under fire' etc. The cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa is excellent. The beautiful capturing of the rain and the scene where the woodcutter walks through the forest with an axe and the camera follows him with the sun playing a light and shade web through the leaves of the forest is amazing.

Rashomon is one of the greatest films ever made, by all means. My being a movie craze has a lot to do with this movie and even today each time this subject and the treatment of this movie appears fresh.


Anonymous vili said...

Ah, Rashomon. I love the rain at the beginning of the film! Tends to make me thirsty, though. ;)

I don't know if you were going to mention this in your future post about rain on film, but they say that Kurosawa not only used all of the local water supply to create that downpour in Rashomon, but he also had ink mixed into it, so that it would look better.

Yet, I personally feel that Kurosawa's best use of rain is in Stray Dog (Nora inu), where the rain works on so many levels. If I remember correctly, at least some of the scenes in that movie are actually filmed with real rain -- it started raining just when they got to film those scenes, and Kurosawa seized the opportunity. They still had to add some extra water, though, as real rain tends to look fake on film. I actually wonder why that is so...

1:17 AM  
Anonymous thikkodi said...

Watch "Six Feet Under" worth seeing it.

11:06 PM  

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