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Rashomon
(1950)

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Writers: Ryűnosuke Akutagawa(story),Akira Kurosawa(screenplay)
Cast: Toshir˘ Mifune, Machiko Ky˘, Masayuki Mori
Genre: Crime, Drama
Length: 1h 28min
Country: Japan


Synopsis (spoiler free): Three men gather together in the ruins of an old Japanese gate house to escape a rainstorm. A priest and a woodsman tell their versions of the story of a murdered samurai. Both men had been partially witnessed the crime and testified at the trial of the accused bandit who committed the crime. We see three different versions of the truth as told from each viewpoint.

Review: I really liked the set location of the old ruined wooden gate, which to me looked like an old temple. And the rain, lots of rain!...that added to the feel of three weary travelers huddled together, telling their stories. I thought the mystery of a horrible event that the men knew about, but could hardly believe, was intriguing and I couldn't wait to find out what the mystery was. The three actors at the ruins were all well cast to fit their roles and conveyed different personalities quit well. I liked them as actors.

But when the story flashed back to the three characters in the woods, I lost interest. It was a let down once I seen what their versions of the horrible event was. I guess I imaged something more provocative and stirring would ensue.

The woodland characters seemed two dimensional and even the cinematography wasn't great, consisting of mainly close ups. The thief was so over the top in his acting that he was annoying and seemed more comical than anything.

This was made for Japanese audiences in 1950 and the themes of duality and how men put on a different face than what their true nature is, most have resonated well with the Japanese psyche. These themes of the nature of human duality come up often in Japanese culture.

I also bet that the three characters in the woods (the horseman, the thief, the lady) were presented on film like Kabuki actors. So this might have been an awesome film for a 50s Japanese audiences that was familiar with the themes and Kabuki theater. But it didn't resonate with me.