Write descriptive essay about Rashomon movie 1950, write an essay of at least 500 words on Rashomon, 5 paragraph essay on Rashomon, definition essay, descriptive essay, dichotomy essay.
Crime, Drama, Mystery
IMDB rating:
Akira Kurosawa
Toshirô Mifune as Tajômaru
Machiko Kyô as Masako Kanazawa
Masayuki Mori as Takehiro Kanazawa
Takashi Shimura as Woodcutter
Minoru Chiaki as Priest
Kichijiro Ueda as Commoner
Fumiko Honma as Medium
Daisuke Katô as Policeman
Storyline: A priest, a woodcutter and another man are taking refuge from a rainstorm in the shell of a former gatehouse called Rashômon. The priest and the woodcutter are recounting the story of a murdered samurai whose body the woodcutter discovered three days earlier in a forest grove. Both were summoned to testify at the murder trial, the priest who ran into the samurai and his wife traveling through the forest just before the murder occurred. Three other people who testified at the trial are supposedly the only direct witnesses: a notorious bandit named Tajômaru, who allegedly murdered the samurai and raped his wife; the white veil cloaked wife of the samurai; and the samurai himself who testifies through the use of a medium. The three tell a similarly structured story - that Tajômaru kidnapped and bound the samurai so that he could rape the wife - but which ultimately contradict each other, the motivations and the actual killing being what differ. The woodcutter reveals at Rashômon that he ...
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- Most of the time, we can not be too honest with ourselves
Master director Akira Kurosawa released his classic RASHOMON in 1950, and became forever Asian cinema's number one represent. It's a mystery-tale playing like a crime-novel told through five different point-of-views and outplaying on three locations (the Rashomon-house, in the forest, and in court), and the film shows the relativity of truth. The scenes from inside the court involves the viewer, all of the characters are placed directly in front of the camera, addressing themselves - it's like we're the jury, deciding what to believe in, and not. Shot in B&W Kurosawa uses the lighting in the forest in interesting ways, the sunlight that shines through the treetops adverts to the hazy story - faces and situations are partly covered in shadow, and light up by sun. What actually happened, and what's fictitious? And Kurosawa uses many techniques to unveil the plot; the dreamy score, the bandit-character (Toshiro Mifune) is a raucous, beastly troublemaker with farcical acrobatics, long sequences with no sound shows Kurosawa's love for the silent era, the non-linear narrative and the uplifting climax. RASHOMON shows different versions of reality, and Kurosawa pioneered using the camera subjectively.
seeing isn't always believing
Akira Kurosawa's "Rashomon" is not a whodunit at all. The testimony from each of the witnesses deliberately presents contradictory versions of the events. In fact, the interrogations are possibly the most fascinating scenes in the movie: we see the witnesses describing what they saw (or at least what they claim to have seen), but we don't see the interrogators. It's as if WE are the interrogators. By hearing these different stories, we have to reconsider how sure we can be about what we think we know. Not to mention Kurosawa's use of the forest to create a mysterious setting.

This is beyond an incredible movie. As with "Seven Samurai" a few years later, Kurosawa knows how to do everything perfectly: direction, cinematography, the works. Of course, probably the most important point is what the one character says noting that we make up stories to help us cope with life. All too true. A masterpiece.
A pensive tale of seeking out elusive objectivity
"Rashomon" was one of Akira Kurosawa's masterpieces, as the film features an ingenious narrative structure, excellent acting and a musing exploration into the fine line that separates perception from reality. The story of a barbaric crime and its aftermath is recounted from 4 contradictory viewpoints and we are given the gruesome details of each one.

"Rashomon" is a beautiful piece of art for so many reasons. In a way, it plays out almost like more of a parable than a film. When asked about "Rashomon", Kurosawa once said, "One of the technique of modern art is simplification, and that I must therefore simplify this film." The plot itself is fairly straightforward and we are not left in a major state of ambiguity by film's end. However, this is a film that, like its enigmatic characters, seeks an ulterior motive. Aside from merely providing us with guidance on how to properly conduct ourselves, it frequently uses metaphorical language which helps to elucidate the more complex ideas. "Rashomon" is didactic in its search, not discovery, of moral and spiritual answers.

And that word "search" is very important to the ultimate meaning of "Rashomon". This film does not seek to provide some revelation of truth to negate the varying perceptions, but rather to delve deeper into the human psyche by calling attention to the disparity between how we as humans think and rationalize.

It is near impossible to adequately praise Kurosawa for what he created with "Rashomon". The astonishing cinematography and use of "dappled" light perfectly captures the eerie, shadowy feel of the atmosphere. All of the actors (Mifune, Mori) bring a gripping realism to their characters. The dialogue is intelligent and introspective, particularly with its constant reflection of existential questions. What truly set this film apart is that, to a certain degree, every line uttered seems to reveal some level of humanity. There is no superfluous detail I can recall that needn't be said nor presented throughout.

One aspect of the film I found particularly interesting is how Rashomon chose to supplant the presence of a judge (to whom each person is recounting their story to) for silence, with each individual stating, then proceeding to answer, the question supposedly being asked to them. This technique demands that we be the one to deliberate over their conflicting stories. It is up to us decide for ourselves "What do we believe?" or, for some, "What do we WANT to believe?" It seems that Kurosawa is trying to convey the idea that, in the end, there is no one right answer - truth is, in itself, a matter of subjectivity. With "Rashomon", Kurosawa offers us a powerful and masterful piece of film-making that really makes you question the human condition.
a masterpiece. or only a seed
the book. and its adaptation. emotion, impressions. and memories. Rashomon could be defined as a ball of facts and testimonies, masterpiece or poem about emotions. but, more important, it has the rare gift to be a key. to yourself. it is artistically perfect. the acting, the dialogues, the scenes, the tension, the story who escapes out of screen for become a kind of personal experience. but the virtue of Rashomon is its special status of seed. because it grows up after its end decades and decades in the memory of its viewer. new senses, new sound of words, new nuances of gestures. so, it is a sleep of time. fascinating. and honest. complex. and too simple for not be an axis of questions.
Dirty degradation away from mysticism
Rashomon is one of those movies that at first seems to have a lot of peculiarities, but upon further viewing makes more and more sense. It doesn't need multiple viewings in order to be appreciated, though... it's impact is pretty immediate. It's just that some of the things that seem more odd about it are much more lasting than one would think.

The story is about four people who are involved in a rape, a murder, and a theft in the woods, and how each tells the story of the events with a different stress in order to make themselves look better. What is clear is this: a woman was taken in front of her husband by a bandit. The husband was killed. His sword was taken by the bandit and the woman's dagger somehow disappeared. With those elements, a cynical outside observer hears the stories of each character and eventually comes to the conclusion he has from the beginning: that people are selfish and self-interested, and that good no longer exists in the world.

The woman's, bandit's, and witness's stories are more easily accepted, but what do we do with the presence of the dead husband's ghost and his story, especially when the priest points out that "dead men don't lie"? Akira Kurosawa often puts metaphysical beings into the story with the same matter-of-fact quality as he does any other character, and to a cynical observer's eye, this could be considered a distraction. However, just the ghost helps illustrate just how far Japanese society has degraded away from classic values. Just as the listener of the tales tears apart Rashomon temple as the movie progresses for the selfish need of firewood, the ghost no longer is held to the same amount of abstractly definite authority. The presence of the priest and his clenched grip around his faith in humanity helps create a dialog about how removed people have become from abstract concepts of good and evil. The ghost, the priest, and the temple are all a very important part of the story, the same way the outsider's anecdote, "They say the demon who resided here fled rather than be met with the evil of human beings" has dire importance to the interplay of relationships in this film.

Kurosawa's skill is not just in dialog and relationships, his visual acuity helps accentuate these themes as well. When the story begins, the woods is magical, even colorful (despite the black and white photography). It is a woods of fairy tale, with magical breezes and quiet streams. As the movie progresses, the woods lose more and more of their mystical quality and become dirty and dry. By the time the battle between the husband and the bandit is played out in its final representation, it is no longer a valiant battle of skill against two well-versed opponents, its a stressful, scary affair that has the two kicking up more dust than swinging their swords. The dust itself shows the degradation of the story away from the abstract qualities of truth and justice to a much more dirty, ugly reality as promoted by the outsider.

I don't think Akira Kurosawa necessarily holds the theme of this movie as utter truth, especially considering the hopeful ending, but it does seem as if this movie came during a very cynical time during Kurosawa's life. Many discuss it as a post-war film, which isn't a bad guess. But even without it's affinity to the post-war world of Japan at the time, it somehow has a profound effect on viewers even today.

Different cultures, different aesthetic values
I just watched this film for a film history class, and I have a somewhat ambivalent reaction to it. I recognize the qualities that make it great, in terms of the theme (i.e.--a visual examination of the subjectivity of knowledge), but their are aspects of the cinematography that are very off-putting for a 21st century American audience. Most notable are the exceptionally long takes focused on an actor's face while he/she emotes for the camera. After the first few seconds of this type of shot, no new intelligence is communicated by continuing to view the actor's face. I did like the realism of the fight scenes, which struck me as much more in line with reality than the highly choreographed demonstrations of virtuoso sword-play that many more modern action films offer.

Overall, I give the film a 3, based on the fact that it's just not all that accessible to most modern viewers, due to differences in culture and aesthetic values between 1950 Japan and 2004 America. Since the purpose of any text is to reach out in a meaningful way to its audience, that inaccessibility constitutes a fatal flaw in the film. In other words, it's dated, badly.
"I just don't understand this story"
These are the opening words of Rashômon, and in a way that's also a summary of the entire film. It is the story of four testimonies of the same event that couldn't differ more. It is told by a priest and a woodcutter to a commoner, as they seek shelter from the rain under the Rashomon gate. The priest and the woodcutter were witnesses in a trial, and what they heard there made them puzzled, and after they told everything, the viewer is just as puzzled as these two.

What happened? Takehiro, a samurai has been murdered and Masako, his wife has been raped, the suspect is Tajômaru. And indeed, in court he confesses to have raped the woman and to have killed the samurai in duel. Masako however tells quite a different story: After Tajômaru took advantage of her, he left and despair and pity made her kill her husband, but to commit suicide, just as she originally planned, she's to weak. Then the murdered samurai speaks, through the voice of a medium. In his story, he committed suicide because of disgust at his wife, who asked Tajomaru to kill him in order to accompany the robber. At the end, we hear even another story from the woodcutter, who was, as he reveals, an eyewitnesses. In his version, Tajômaru killed the samurai in a duel (or rather: in a brawl) that was demanded by his wife.

Now what did really happen? Why did at least three of these four people lie? The reason cannot be (as the commoner says at one point) that everyone told what was useful for him, since, except for the woodcutter, everyone told a story in which he was the killer. So do they all think their story is true? Do they all feel guilty for a reason or another? These questions will cause endless discussions once you watch this film.

And the end, Kurosawa raises another question: If man keeps lying (to others as well as to himself), does that mean he is evil? This question is underlined by the crying baby the three men find in the Rashômon gate. Kurosawa's answer to this question is clearly a no: the woodcutter takes the baby to raise him and the priest realizes that he is a good man, even although he's a lier and a thief.

But if Kurosawa had only raised these questions, Rashômon wouldn't have become such a classic as it is considered today. He is telling his story with breathtaking images, as when he's holding his camera directly into the sun, when he uses the wood, light and shadow to create a dense atmosphere, or when he shows the trial scenes, where he makes the witnesses talk to the viewers to make them feel like the judges. The fight scenes are all terrifically shot, and the scene before Masako kills Takehiro can move you to tears. Rashômon also has some good acting, especially the breathtaking Toshirô Mifune in one of film history's most unforgettable performances as the wild robber Tajômaru, always jumping around and seemingly untamable and unafraid. All this makes Rashômon a mind-boggling experience, that had me talk all night through with friends of mine, and still stirs me whenever i watch it.
Abysmal acting
I'm actually mad with this movie. It's such a great effort in almost everything for such a poor execution in two major areas; the acting and the script. The former is so absurdly over-dramatic that it seems like a parody of itself, has comedy-like reactions without a link between them to feel organic, it's just laughable b-movie type ridiculousness. The latter just doesn't know how to handle the plot, it's a lowsy implementation of everything good with the story.

The direction, of course, is magnificent. There's one point when two characters with opposite moral highgrounds naturally set upon a third character to represent his own disbelief with the situation he's in. It's beautiful and it's vivid.
The husband, the wife...or the bandit?
In ancient Japan, a woman is raped and her husband killed. The film gives us four viewpoints of the incident - one for each defendant - each revealing a little more detail. Which version, if any, is the real truth about what happened?

I was looking forward to this film because I love the concept of POV films, even this, which I believe started the whole thing. Well, that's the problem. If this was the first POV I've ever seen, which is certainly not the case here, I would probably have loved it like everyone else. Well, I've seen many more POV films before this, like "Vantage Point," which takes the same idea but uses it in a more sophisticated way.

The whole POV thing in here is pretty simple and really easy to understand and I was disappointed in that. I just expected more. More complicated things. Small significances that I wouldn't have noticed the first time when watching the film a lot more. But no, it's just a simple plot compared to the other films which took the idea and turned it into a much more complicated way.

Away from that, the film was still good, especially close to the end. I just don't like that the film had a lot of unintentional laughs because of some horrible acted scenes and some amateurish directing. However, they're all tolerable. Overall, it's nothing big compared to films with the same idea released these days so don't keep your expectations high.
"It's Because Men Are Weak That They Lie."
From this material most filmmakers might have made a murder mystery or a courtroom drama, which is what it can fundamentally be considered to be. But Akira Kurosawa, rather, directed this universal tale made all the way across the world, set a thousand years ago, made 60 years ago, which has actually given root to philosophical movements and fields, transfiguring the account of a foul rape and murder into a contemplation on certainty and human nature. The film is about the real animal showing through the most coercive social doctrines.

Beginning with a very powerful opening master shot of the Rashomon gate, two mingling time filaments construct the contemplation: Under the Rashomon gate, time lingers ponderously, breathless, exhausted, gathering dust. In the forest time is imbued with heat and disquiet, with life and respect in peril of being erased. As is widely known about the film, the stories of the rape and murder are jointly conflicting. The plot unfolds in flashback as the bandit Toshirō Mifune, the murdered samurai Masayuki Mori, his wife Machiko Kyō, and the nameless woodcutter Takashi Shimura recount the events of the inscrutable afternoon. But it is also a flashback within a flashback. Kurosawa first transgresses across the lapse between these two strands with a glaring two minutes of unadorned cinema which aggregates both: the woodcutter's walk into the forest, a succession of shots of constant sundry motion while the story bides its time in remission. So this scene, like those at the Rashomon gate, is chronological inertia, although its vibrancy and dormant violence, generated by its motion's rise and fall in pulse, introduces us to matters in the wood clearing. For the woodcutter's advance into the marrow of the forest, with its essentially anesthetic drift of movement per sudden cuts and camera maneuver, becomes our advance into the marrow of the film. When he stops, we are there and the forest has emerged as the focal mise en scene of the drama. However the camera proceeds to move very sparingly.

The three men in the rain at the gate, comprised of Shimura's woodcutter, a traveling priest claims that he saw the samurai and the woman the same day the murder happened, and an earthy commoner, are like a Greek chorus remarking upon the turmoil in that open space. Their annotations, which throughout the film are chiefly of doubt and amazement, as the three parties in the crime each tell an extensively differing story of the death. Surprisingly, each maintains responsibility for the killing. Each telling retains the teller's honorable sense of self. Then the woodcutter gives a fourth take.

Disposed to all this, some viewers consider Rashomon to be a conundrum for unriddling, upholding that there must be one correct account of the killing which we can unravel if we interpret the niceties discerningly enough. For others, Rashomon is the prototypical cinematic delineation of the philosophy that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but relative, that truth is impenetrable. Indeed, we're given clues to believe each of the characters' versions of the story. There is no truth, just biased conception of events. Human beings don't tend to be capable of being candid with themselves regarding themselves. The average human cannot talk about him or herself without ornament to protect their ego. This script depicts such people, the temperament who cannot persevere without distortion to make them feel they're better people than they actually are to any objective opinion of their own. How many hypocrites do you really know? You already know you're one yourself. So am I. As animals, we're impetuous. We all have different externalizations of such behavior. What we must do to realize our significance is gain control over this characteristic.

Fumio Hayasaka's slow, skin-and-bone score for Rashomon is infectious even as it's ever so subtle. This theme music is used as an exposition, associated with the presence of particular characters, and distinguishes between the inflection of tone from scene to scene. And each scene is in a class of its own. The swordfight in the bandit's recollection and the later version of the same swordfight are simply antithetical creatures. Mifune's version is a telling of rage, empowerment and humiliating the other guy. Swords clash, there are occasionally bare- knuckled struggles to reclaim a weapon, and Mifune laughing like a maniac. Later, we see even still not truly a swordfight but a fight that begins with swords in the hands of their frightened owners, who may for all we know have never before found themselves in such a fight, which devolves into a tightly aggressive mortal scuffle. Both are two of my favorite swordfights on film, no special effects are even needed! As for the scene where the husband's spectre tells the story, what other way in 11th century Japan would a court have believed they could gather all possible testimony when every survivor's account is drastically different?

Kurosawa had to extemporize with sparse assets to bring it to the screen, but if anything, clenching the money clip perhaps resulted in a better film. Minimalism is indispensable to a story that depends on fine points and particulars, and the deficiency of excesses defines the discretion Kurosawa used and the rigor with which he had to work. In one sequence, there is a series of single close-ups of the bandit, then the wife, and then the husband, which then repeats to emphasize the triangular relationship. Kurosawa also peculiarly uses sunlight to actually symbolize evil and sin.

Beside his remarkable instinct for what audiences wanted, there is a continuous trial-and-error strand throughout Kurosawa's work. The sense of freedom this film brought to young filmmakers was less a reaction to a mysterious thematic motif than to Kurosawa's scorn of the entrenched protocol of narrative cinema. He disregards the 180-degree rule, in so doing inverting relationships that have any extension in space, connects long shots and close-ups and shots of contradictory movements.
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