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Rashomon (1950) - Akira Kurosawa

Related: Akira Kurosawa - 1950 - Japanese cinema - unreliable narrator - version - truth

Rashomon (1950) - Akira Kurosawa [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


While this film has always been considered one of the classics of world cinema, it remained for Parker Tyler to analyze it as the archetype of modern sensibility in film. For the killing of the travelling merchant and the rape of his wife by a bandit -- reenacted four times by each of the protagonists and a presumed witness -- results not merely in four different and irreconcilable stories: more perversely, it implies that all are true and false, that "the truth" of a human situation is never simple and that objectivity cannot be achieved. Here cinema approaches the subtleties of Dostoevski, the insights of the Cubists, Futurists, and Freudians into the nature of reality as a multiplicity of overlapping, conflicting, converging strands and layers, each contributing to the "truth" of the whole -- a truth that remains "subjective" and, in terms of certainty, inevitably elusive. --Amos Vogel, 1974

Rash?mon is a 1950 Japanese motion picture directed by Akira Kurosawa (in collaboration with Kazuo Miyagawa) and starring Toshiro Mifune.

The movie's theme is the difficulty, or rather the impossibility, of obtaining the truth about an event from conflicting witness accounts. Rash?mon can be said to have introduced Kurosawa and Japanese cinema to Western audiences, and is considered one of his masterpieces.

In English and other languages, "Rashomon" has become a by-word for any situation wherein the truth of an event becomes difficult to verify due to the conflicting accounts of different witnesses. In psychology, the film has lent its name to the Rashomon effect. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashomon_%28film%29 [Feb 2006]

The Rashomon effect

The Rashomon effect is the effect of the subjectivity of perception on recollection, by which observers of an event are able to produce substantially different but equally plausible accounts of it.

It is named for Akira Kurosawa’s film Rashomon, in which a crime witnessed by four individuals is described in four mutually contradictory ways. The film is based on two short stories by Akutagawa Ryunosuke. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashomon_effect [Aug 2006]

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