Joel’s review of Rashomon (1950)

Namita recently rented Rashomon, a famous 1950 Japanese period film by acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. I’ve never seen a Kurosawa film, but I’ve often read trivia stating this or that modern film scene was inspired by a specific Kurosawa film. I’ve never gotten around to actually watching a Kurosawa film, so I appreciated my wife going out her way to borrow it from our local library.

Without spoiling the film’s plot, it starts out slowly with two men, a wood-cutter and a Shinto priest, sitting lost in thought under the Rashomon city gate watching (waiting out?) a rain storm. Another man joins them, and they hint to him that they were witnesses to a tragedy. What we know is a samurai and his wife were traveling through a nearby forest when they encountered infamous local bandit Tajômaru. There is not much more we know.

The film introduces these and multiple other characters who also provide their version of what happened. Some of it jives, some doesn’t. The audience is left to wonder what the truth really is. I’ll say no more.

I was impressed by how Kurosawa and team created the visuals and tones for the the film. The constant views of the sun through the trees. The look through the forest from the audience viewpoint. The camera work was all pretty interesting.

Roshomon (1950)

Roshomon (1950)

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