Friday, November 27, 2009

Rashomon (1950)

Director: Akira Kurosawa. Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori. 88 min. Rated PG-13. Japan. Drama.

Guilty confession: This was my first Kurosawa movie! And I loved it! The murder of a Samurai in a forest is narrated by 4 people in an ancient court. The narratives are absolutely contradictory, except in one fact: the murder itself. This leads to an ingenious cinematic Rorschach test: Every person sees the truth only as they perceive it, not as it actually happened. The truth is never revealed, because it really doesn't matter - it's only pertinent how we react to the truth. And we're talking about a movie made 60 years ago. Stay tuned for more Kurosawa followups.

Mo says:


  1. If we consider the movie made on 1950, it clears how much it’s so far ahead of it’s time. Four POV of for witness about a same event how much different it can be from each other! And the unanswered question of all time : Who tells the truth ? What is the truth? And this nice sentence which I read :
    'People forget the unpleasant things. They only remember what they want to remember.'

    I also liked the final scene and I think filmmaker meant this concept: "along with the evil is an inherent good "

    Ps: come on! you say you didn't see The seven Samuraee, Dersu uzala,Red beard , which were shown at least 1000 times in IRIB in our adolescence!!

  2. Oh, there's so much to talk about here. "Rashomon" was one of those jewels that changed my viewpoint about the simplest concepts of history, and social relations.

    Every person, when narrating an event, inevitably injects a part of their own "self" into the story. It's an absolutely basic part of every human narration. We just include parts of the event that are interesting to us, and exclude the uninteresting parts - not realizing that we're "destroying" a part of the event in the process of narrating it.

    I once read there's no such thing as a true "documentary" film. Even a documentarian includes and excludes portions of an event in the film that he/she finds interesting. Only something that feeds and satisfies his/her own viewpoint of the world.

    This is unbelievably crucial in understanding what we read in history books. Usually, we're dealing with "humans" narrating historical events, while some of these events (and their narrations) have changed the course of history. So how in the world can we guarantee that someone who narrated a critical historical event, didn't impose "himself" into the story? How do we know which historical figure can be trusted, while the narrations are so shaky, and prone to bias?

    The sad part of the story, is that people kill each other, or get killed, based on narrated events from hundreds and thousands of years ago. "Rashomon" is a masterpiece.

    PS: Sorry, but no, no, and no! Every time I watched the beginning of "Seven Samurai" as a kid at night I TV, I would doze off. And I've only seen half of "Red Beard". Have mercy!