RASHOMON directed by Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1950)

When hearing testimony in criminal cases, the judge and jury always have to keep an open mind. The need to save face, guilt, shame or simply a bad memory are all reasons why the accounts of eye witnesses may not be as reliable as they first seem. What passes as an indisputable truth is often merely one person’s word against another.

Kurosawa’s cinematic masterpiece illustrates this with a poetic and brilliantly realised presentation of the killing of a samurai as seen from four different points of view.

The film opens during a violent storm with a woodcutter and a priest sheltering from heavy rain under a partially ruined temple of Rashomon. They are both depressed about  a tragic murder, a killing that makes them despair for the human race. A passing ‘commoner’ joins them and takes a more pragmatic perspective, unable to understand…

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