Film Review: Rashomon (1950) by Akira Kurosawa

By the finish of the 1940s, director Akira Kurosawa had established himself as a reliable worker for various film studios, which includes Daei, who had currently made “The Quiet Duel” in 1949 and who would strategy him with the proposal of adapting “In a Grove”, a brief story by writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa. At the finish of the exact same year, and in spite of a fire in the studio, Kurosawa and his group managed to finish “Rashomon”, which would be released in Japan to moderate good results, but in the end to some international interest, such as Giuliana Stramigioli, the president of Venice Film Festival. The rest, as they say, is history, with “Rashomon” becoming a key good results for its creator and the Japanese film business as a complete, whose reputation, even now, relies to some extent on Kurosawa’s functions. Regardless of its function for Japanese culture, “Rashomon” frequently attracts lots of cinephiles and scholars for its strategy to storytelling, incorporating the concept of the unreliable narrator and its implications to the medium of film.

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Through a heavy rainfall, 3 men and women meet as they locate shelter beneath the remains of the Rashomon city gate. As a farmer (Kichijiro Ueda) joins the group consisting of a woodcutter (Takashi Shimura) and a priest (Minoru Chiaki), he merely searches for a story to pass the time till the rain is gone, and he can continue on his journey. On the other hand, his companions nevertheless look perplexed by what they have just been via, the witness of a trial against Tajomaru (Toshiro Mifune), a bandit, accused of the murder of a samurai (Masayuki Mori) and the rape of the warrior’s wife (Machiko Kyo). Immediately after the newcomer insisting on hearing their story, they commence retelling their version of the events that took spot in a compact forest, and also the accounts of the bandit, the wife and the samurai.

As the farmer listens to the several versions of the events, there are notable contradictions and variations, creating the wife also seem guilty and displaying how each and every of the characters attempt to place the blame on each and every other about how the encounter violently escalated. Whereas the wife claims to have no concept who ultimately killed her husband, the samurai, via a medium, claims he has committed seppuku following the loss of honor due to his wife’s indignity and shame.

As lots of readers will undoubtedly know, there is a complete plethora of essays and critiques focusing on the several themes and facts of Kurosawa’s function, creating it, subsequent to “Seven Samurai”, possibly his most covered and therefore well-liked functions. Even though, on the one particular hand, its exploration on the human situation, on temptation and guilt, is one particular of the layers creating “Rashomon” timeless, its discussion on the concept of truth is genuinely what tends to make this story extremely modern, as, for instance, film scholar Dr. Marcus Stiglegger highlights in his interview with AMP. The confusion and heartfelt irritation felt by the characters we meet at the destroyed gate currently hints at the way their version of the truth, anything the held for granted, has been shaken by the contradictions, accusations and selfish actions they have witnessed and heard just a couple of hours prior, ultimately major them to suspect each and every other of mischievous deeds and motivations. Similarly, the viewer is caught in the exact same trap, unsure what and who to think, which says a lot about the top quality of the script, a collaborative work of Kurosawa himself and Shinobu Hashimoto.

Furthermore, there is the historical context of several narratives fighting more than what is the norm and what everyone ought to think in, resulting in a planet thrown into chaos. In addition to the aforementioned conflicting versions of the events as told by the characters, there are other indicators of the planet in a state of disarray. For instance, the swordfights, a trademark for any jidaigeki, mirror the psychological deterioration of men and women, as they look chaotic and wild, with victory only getting accomplished via trickery or just luck. Kazuo Miyagawa’s cinematography and Kurosawa’s editing emphasize this notion, in the fight scenes, but also other facts, such as the state of the Rashomon gate or the concentrate on the characters as they make their confession at court, with the function of the judge seemingly getting appointed to the viewer.

Apart from its technical elements, “Rashomon” is also a masterwork due to its ensemble. Even though it is tricky to point out one particular efficiency more than the other individuals, undoubtedly Mifune, Mori and Kyo will have the most influence on the audience, stressing the several layers to their characters, their strategies of manipulation and how to maybe use a scenario to their benefit. At the exact same time, you can never ever completely trust any of these men and women, as composure provides in to mischief and in the end madness, with the bandit’s laughter maybe getting the most impactful reflection on their state and the planet they reside in.

In conclusion, “Rashomon” is a need to-see for cinephiles, a lesson in cinematic storytelling and presenting a planet in disarray. Akira Kurosawa early on in his profession delivered a accurate masterpiece of cinema, which is just as relevant now as it was at the time of its release.



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