Movie Information

In Brief: Though he’d made better movies before this one — and would make better ones after it — Rashomon (1950) is the film that put Akira Kurosawa on the map as a major force in international film. The secret probably lies in the picture’s unusual structure, which not only functions as a hook, but is, in fact, the whole reason for the film. The story by itself is simple — a man and his wife are waylaid by a bandit in an encounter that leaves the husband dead. But the trick is that we never see the story objectively. Instead, we see if from differing perspectives — and different agendas — so that we never know what really happened, only those differing tellings of the same events. What is true? There’s no way of telling and that’s what caught people’s imaginations. It becomes a mystery without a solution. Looked at without this aspect in mind, Rashomon actually feels cruder than some of Kurosawa’s earlier work, and maybe even a little padded. Does it deserve its massive reputation? Probably, but it’s best looked at as of its time.
Genre: Drama
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki
Rated: NR

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Rashomon Friday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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6 thoughts on “Rashomon

  1. sally sefton

    This was a play that was produced in 1959 and was a smashing success winning 3 Tony Awards. I wonder how much the script for the stage version was impacted by the film. I love the play. It works well with today’s audiences and retains the emotional impact even with the passage of time.

      • sally sefton

        um..”.I wonder how much the script for the stage version was impacted by the film. I love the play.”

        implying the stage version came after the film

        • Ken Hanke

          Yes, I got that — plus the fact that the date of 1959 is considerably later than the film.

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