Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Movie Review - Rashomon

This movie comes from Japan's acclaimed director Akira Kurusawa. This is the second film of his that I'm seeing(I saw it this Saturday) and although I didn't find it as good as the first (I live in Fear), I thought it was worth a mention.

It starts off with three men taking shelter from the rain. Two of them begin to tell the third one about the events of the past week, to be specific the one event that absolutely shattered them. These two men are a woodcutter and a holy man. The third man is a cynic who seems curious about their story. The woodcutter seems to be the most affected. He tells the story of how he came across the body of a man in the forest along with a woman's veil. Close by, he encounters and captures a famous bandit who, during his trial at which the holy man is also present, confesses killing the man that the woodcutter found.

According to the bandits story, a man and his wife were traveling through the forest. The bandit manages to separate them and tie up the husband. He then rapes the wife in front of her husband and prepares to leave when the wife tells him she can't live with the shame and either the bandit or her husband have to die. So the husband and bandit duel it out bravely and the husband is killed and the wife escapes.

As the trial proceeds, the wife gives her testimony, which turns out to be quite different from the bandits. She says after the rape, the bandit left her with her husband, who kept staring at her with an expression of pure hatred. She couldn't handle his glare and fainted. When she awoke, he was gone. At this point of time, the cynic is reasonably interested in the woodcutters account of the trial.

But then comes the revelation that a shaman was brought to trial who spoke on behalf of the husband. His account was that after the rape, the bandit chases the wife. Hours later, he returns to free the husband and leaves. The husband then collapses out of exhaustion and dies.

On hearing this, the cynic does not know whom to believe but on seeing the woodcutters guilt ridden face, presses him on. The woodcutter reveals that he didn't tell the judge at the trial everything he saw. He then goes on to tell the cynic and holy man what really happened. The revelation shakes the holy mans faith in humanity and leaves the woodcutter in shame. But then the three are confronted with an abandoned baby and have a chance to redeem themselves.

It really wasn't the best Kurosawa movie I've seen, although it did have a nice moral at the end.


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