Rashomon
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Rashomon (1950)

Rashomon
7.9/10 by 247 users
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In ancient Japan a crime take place as told from three different travelers who have experienced the crime: a man being killed and his wife being raped. Which if any of the stories is true? A Akira Kurosawa film about morals, truth, and communication.

Original Title:羅生門
Release Date:December 26, 1950
Runtime:
MPAA Rating:12A
Genres:Crime, Drama, Mystery
Production Company:Daiei Motion Picture Company
Production Countries:Japan
Director:Akira Kurosawa, Tai Katô, Tokuzô Tanaka, Mitsuo Wakasugi, Teruyo Nogami
Writers:, ,
Casts:, , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:japan, rape, samurai, rain, woodcutter, medium, sunlight, court case, dying and death, court, truth, criminal
  • What did we just see?
    February 10, 2002
    'People forget the unpleasant things. They only remember what they want to remember.'
    In Rashomon the editing tells ½ of the story. It may feel experimental or unconventional, but Kurosawa perfects the concept second by second, directing and editing. This film didn't need a big budget to come perfectly to the point. It's a simple tale, but not a superficial tale. Different points of view and selective memories ('It's true! I saw it!') don't only make the woods unsafe, but are one of the most universal topics of humanity. 'We humans are weak creatures. That's why we lie, even to ourselves' says it all actually: it's about what people want to hear and when they start being interested at all, apart from wishful thinking. Selfish excuses vs trust in other people.
    Rashomon gets masterful when in one instant there is literally a different point of view: the camera takes another position to shoot the same sequence, thereby forcing the audience to reconsider what they just saw. That is the sort of storytelling that the supposed masters of cinema in our time yet have to equal, or try to copy when they fail. Admitted 'Memento' (2000, Nolan) is a truly great one. Still not THAT universal. 'Pulp Fiction' (1994) didn't come close, 'La Commare Secca' (1962) also didn't. 'Ghost dog: the way of the samurai' (1999) touched another border of the concept, or does it?
    The use of (non-original) music in my opinion reveals a certain interest for western influence, not only in Rashomon, but also in Kurosawa's forthcoming films, and is probably why his films were so influential on western filmmakers too.
    The cinematography is dynamic and changes scene by scene to emphasize exactly what is going on. The shadows of leaves and branches, captured by cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa, make you really feel 'in the woods', while the actors (Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura) convince the remaining part of the audience (which adds up to 100% breathless viewers). It may be after days that you first realize you saw an important film. After weeks you realize that you must see it again to comprehend (despite it's only 85 min), and ironically that is just one of the crucial points that Kurosawa made. 10/10