Rashomon (1950)

November 17, 2003 • Film, Reviews

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Writer: Akira Kurosawa & Shinobu Hashimoto

Cast: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori

Running Time: 88 min.

Plot: In ancient Japan, a woman is raped and her husband killed. The film gives us four viewpoints of the incident – one for each defendant – each revealing a little more detail. Which version, if any, is the real truth about what happened ?

The original masterpiece that put Japanese cinema on the world map and made Akira Kurosawa into the most famous Japanese filmmaker ever. It’s a brilliant puzzle of a film, telling the same story four different ways. As different people recite the same events, the actual events that went on become so indistinguishable within the milieu that it becomes impossible to tell what is truth and what is a lie. The entire cast is brilliant, but Toshiro Mifune is the one that perhaps shines the brightest. To prepare for the character, Kurosawa showed Mifune footage of a lion going for a kill. “That’s how I want you to be,” he told Mifune. And indeed, Mifune roars with the powerful ferocity of a lion.

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