Artistic Film Review: RASHOMON

Essay by gakuseUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2004

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Class: IA03B

Lecturer: Justin Lee

Subject: Creative Writing

Artistic Film Review: RASHOMON

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

What do "RASHOMON" means? The "Rashomon" was the largest gate in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. It was 106 feet wide and 26 feet deep, and was topped with a ridge-pole; its stone-wall rose 75 feet high. With the decline of West Kyoto, the gate fell into bad repair, cracking, and crumbling in many places, and became a hide-out for thieves and robbers and a place for abandoning corpses.

Basically this movie is about three men (A commoner, a woodcutter and a priest) talking about an incident that happened in their own perspective.

The story told by Rashomon is both surprisingly simple and deceptively complex. The central tale, which tells of the rape of a woman (Machiko Kyo) and the murder of a man (Masayuki Mori), possibly by a bandit (Toshiro Mifune), is presented entirely in flashbacks from the perspectives of four narrators.

The framing portions of the movie transpire at Kyoto's crumbling Rashomon gate, where several people seek shelter from a pelting rainstorm and discuss the recent crime, which has shocked the region. One of the men, a woodcutter (Takashi Shimura), was a witness to the events, and, with the help of a priest (Minoru Chiaki), he puzzles over what really happened, and what such a horrible occurrence says about human nature.

In each of the four versions of the story, the characters are the same, as are many of the details. But much is different, as well. In the first account, that of the bandit, the criminal accepts culpability for the murder but refutes the charge of rape, saying that it was an act of mutual consent. The woman's story affirms that the bandit attacked...