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About this product
- Genre:Foreign Films
- Display Format:Criterion Collection
Most relevant reviews
- mazec666Nov 10, 2012by
A perfect film in every way possible.
A stunning breakthrough in Japanese cinema, Akira Kurosawa’s RASHOMON is a film like no other and nearly six decades later, it still remains strikingly fresh and original.
In 11th-century Japan, four witnesses (Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo, Fumiko Honma & Takashi Shimura) narrate different versions of the story of a man’s murder and the rape of his wife. Each story is told so thoroughly flawless that you might ask several questions: Which character is lying? And which character is telling the truth? However, you might need to figure those answers out for yourself.
Acknowledging the innovative cinematography from Kazuo Miyagawa, Kurosawa conveys his meticulous attention to detail and stylized compositions into a film that would break cinematic conventions. Nevertheless, RASHOMON is a groundbreaking achievement in moviemaking for many reasons: It is among the first films to utilize non-linear storytelling, to deal with taboo subjects like attempted rape and to be a major Japanese picture released outside of the homeland.
Mifune delivers a bravura performance by bringing fierce tenacity and wicked magnetism in the role of Tajomaru the Bandit. Of course, I wouldn’t forget about the two actors that stood out among the eight principal players: Machiko Kyo and Takashi Shimura. As the suffering female victim, Kyo certainly brings sympatic innocence into her character’s state of mind. And as the amiable woodcutter, Shimura becomes a humane focus for the final story that leaves an open conclusion.
Masterful and way ahead of its time, RASHOMON is just a perfect film in every way possible.Read full review
- d-man.818Nov 19, 2009by
What I believe makes Akira Kurosawa's films so appealing to American audiences is his culturally western approach. Unlike other Japanese directors he was aware of foreign audience tastes and aimed at creating borderless stories that all could enjoy. "Rashomon" exemplifies this approach. With many narrators and unreliable tales he creates mystery characteristics that we Americans can identify with. He was like an exotic version of Hitchcock by manipulating the audiences emotions and confusing us as to which character we should trust. A great tale and a true classic. Highly recommend it!!!
- gghobbycomNov 07, 2007by
Truth & Illusion
If you have never seen this film, you will come to it and find it very familiar. That's because Rashomon has become part of the world's consciousness & lexicon. It's story of an action involving several participants, each with their own differing version of the truth, has been elaborated and riffed-on by many others since it appeared on the world's stage in the 50's.
So, it is an old movie, often imitated. And yet, I found it fresh and involving and well worth a look. As Robert Altman says on the DVD extras, many of the camera techniques, particularly shooting directly at the sun and allowing lens flare, were taboo-breaking and radically new when this film appeared. Now, that is put in as a joke in Shrek.
So you come to Rashomon not to be overwhelmed with its "newness" and the refreshing change of first encountering Japanese cinema and acting styles. No, you come to Rashomon as to an old master, to appreciate its lasting impression of the universality of human foibles and passions and the illusory nature of truth.
A rape and murder have occured in a woods. We hear and see different versions of the same encounter. Who is telling the truth? Is there an absolute objective truth, or does every teller of the tale inherently only tell the truth as he sees it? And if everyone is a "liar" and there is no absolute truth, what is the point of anything?
Don't let the heavy questions mislead you. Rashomon moves quickly, fluidly and gracefully, telling its story with economy and, to me, humor. Much is made of the dark philosophy underneath the theme, but I find great sardonic humor in the film. One example, the fight between the thief & the man as related by the woodcutter...it is messy and unheroic, sweaty, breathless and awkward and the antithesis of the stylized balletic sword fights found in, even Kurosawa's, samurai movies.
In the end, as familiar and much copied as Rashomon has been, it is still like no other film. It is unique, and the result of a master filmaker's vision, unified and beautiful and unforgettable.Read full review
- marcmountfalconJan 30, 2008by
This is a classic. Read Calvino's "Why we read the..."
the classics." The same applies to cinema.
It's interesting to realize also that Kurosawa got his inspiration from a story in which the perspectives are divided. For those who love literature, it is great to see how the visual artist of our time appropriates the material in the medium of film, but literature still appears to be the definitive bedrock.....
- frank_mtyOct 19, 2006by
This is a must have film
I viewed this film in my Art class a year ago, it was very recommended from our instructor. This movie created a new word to world-wide vocabulary "Rashomon", meaning "the same story told from different people, with their own perspective". As far as I have heard it is a term commonly used in courts.
Great film, for it's age it is surprisingly something different, intriguing and clearly out of ordinary. Few films such as this one have been created since then.