Two Minute Review : Rashomon - Three men and some truth

May 20th, 2009

The moment anything is reported or written, truth suffers. This is one of the most fundamental points in reporting news. The eye witness narrative is the most sought out at such times. At all possibility, the eye witness brings his perspective of the news. The moment a perspective is brought in, subjectivity creeps in. He selects which part of the news has to be told, which part of the news he remembers, which part he forgets and which part he compels himself to hide. Thus selection of the scene from eye witness becomes inevitable. Finally, the truth suffers. So what happens when truth suffers?

I copy pasted the above paragraph from Virumandi movie review without any changed. And that suits Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon. Rather it’s the other way. But blame it on me watching Rashomon only now. Rashomon can be celebrated as one of the best all-time movies. I would personally say it’s the most simplest movie ever taken. With the story, screenplay, camera, sets, costumes and all being so simple, the movie was terrific. It was a quaintly gripping. Rashomon is certainly a tour-de-france in it’s own way. For a B &W movie, it had elements of international cinema which could be referenced and debated even now.

Rashmon, a place of workship which was once a building of faith is in shambles. Three men discuss on a extra-ordinary event which two of them witnessed. Eachone has a version of the story. Where the heck is truth. It’s said that the story of Rashomon was built from a shortstory called, In the Grove by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. But it was Kurosawa’s dealing with it made it a evergreen classic. Even in such a negative thread that runs throughout the movie it’s Kurosawa’s brilliance that made all them seem positive at the end. The last scene where the wood cutter walks with
the newborn talks volumes about the gist of the movie. The woodcutter with his heads raised, walks away from Rashomon, carrying the kid in his hand and the sun shining behind him. Metaphorically, the promise for a better future lies only with such altruistic random acts of people, at times of emergency. Class act !!.

I am not sure if the building Rashomon was an erected set or not but it was completely realistic and the rain was perfect. It brought in the required tension without any 360 degree panned jimmy-jip angles. The chasing scenes had some amazing shots with the camera rushing down a bushy slope. Something I got to see for the first time only in Mani Ratnam’s Pagal Nilavu song. Akira Kurosawa must have been an expert even before he shot Rashomon to have such clarity in the scene sequencing techniques. The protagonist ToshirĂ´ Mifune as Tajomoru just walked with best actor award.

For those who haven’t seen, watch it without expectations. You can be positive that you will be rewarded in the end.

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