by Jack Nilan            email :

Rashomon (1950)

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Jack   A+

IMDB    8.4



   Another Akira Kurosawa film, this one that introduced a film title as a word used to represent a certain kind of event.

   The film opens with a woodcutter and a priest sitting beneath Rashomon gate to get out of the rain. They are sooned joined by another and they begin telling him a strange story. The woodcutter said he found the body of a slain samurai in the woods and then went to tell the authorities. The priest said that he had seen the samurai travelling with a woman. Both men were summoned to court where they meet captured bandit Tajomaru (Toshiro Mifune), who claims responsibility for the murder and the rape of the woman.

   The bandit first tells his story and tells how he seduced the woman and then killed the samurai husband in a duel. The woman told a story of how she was raped, and then would not be forgiven by her captured husband, who she later found dead. The dead husband, through a medium, told a story of how after being raped, his wife asked the bandit to kill her husband so she didn't have to face him. The bandit was shocked at this and freed the samurai, who killed himself after the wife had fled.

   Back at the gate, after the trial, the woodcutter said the stories were lies. He had really seen what had happened. After the woman was raped she freed her husband, who really didn't want to fight for her honor. When she challenged him, he did fight and was killed.

   The end of the movie has another incident, which at first destroys the priest's belief in humanity, and then affirms it.

   A great, great iconic film.