1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Wiki


#236. Rashomon

  • Year: 1950
  • Country: Japan
  • Language: Japanese
  • Production: Daiei Films, 88m B&W
  • Director: Akira Kurosawa
  • Producer: Minoru Jingo
  • Screenplay: Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, from short stories by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
  • Photography: Kazuo Miyagawa
  • Music: Fumio Hayasaka
  • Cast: Toshirō Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyō, Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki
  • Oscar Wins: Honorary Award (Foreign Language Film)
  • Oscar Noms: Best Art Direction
  • Venice Film Festival: Golden Lion

Abridged Book Description

Plotted with competing points-of-view in flashback style, framed with a fluid, moving camera, and shot under a canopy of dappled light, Rashomon details unreliable perspectives. The veracity of on-screen characters and depicted actions are therefore rendered false and misleading. Facts are submitted into evidence but immediately questioned. Disagreement among the overlapping stories of husband, wife, and bandit complicate straightforward reportage. In short, every narrator is untrustworthy, along with the overall film. Nothing less than an epistemological nightmare, Akira Kurosawa's Oscar winner still concludes with an infusion of moral goodness. Although Rashomon implicitly explores the lost possibility of renewal and redemption, its central theme about discovering truth as a distinction between good and evil is upheld through simple acts of kindness and sacrifice.