Archive for February 25th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(Japan 1950 87m) DVD1/2

Stories in the rain

p  Jingo Minuora  d  Akira Kurosawa  w  Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto  story  “Inside a Bush” by Ryonosuke Akutagawa  ph  Kazuo Miyagawa  ed  uncredited  m  Fumio Hayasaka  art  H.Motsumoto   

Toshiro Mifune (Tajomaru), Machiko Kyo (Masago), Masayuki Mori (Takehiro), Takashi Shimura (firewood dealer), Minoru Chiaki (priest), Kichijiro Ueda (commoner),

There are very few films in history that can truly be said to have become a word in themselves; Rashomon-like being a term applied to a plot that shows a tale in the past tense and from more than one angle.  In the case of Rashomon itself, four ways, a method repeated in the awful US remake, The Outrage and, coincidentally or not, in the 1957 musical Les Girls.  It opened doorways with regards to the restructure of cinematic narrative, quite appropriately considering the Rashomon of the title was a medieval gate.

            In 11th century Japan, three men – a priest, a woodcutter and a commoner – gather under the ruins of the eponymous gate to shelter from the rain storm.  The commoner finds the priest and the woodcutter shell-shocked and learns that they have been discussing the events of a few days previously that they have been party to.  They relate the tale of how a famous bandit, Tajomaru, happened across a samurai, Takehiro, and his seemingly virtuous young bride, Masago, deep in the woods.  With Takehiro found dead, all three relate their side of the tale (Takehiro by way of a medium), but is it the woodcutter, who saw everything unseen, who really knows the truth? (more…)

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