Sunday, 15 January 2012

Recommended: Rashomon

If reputation is anything to go by, saying that a Kurosawa film is recommended is a bit redundant. It's like saying that fire is hot or mountains are big. But reputation or not, it was only when the Special Edition DVD came down in price to six pounds that I considered buying it.

Despite me following Japanese culture for some years, this is actually my first Kurosawa film. He's always been one of those directors who is so universally praised, it actually puts you off watching his films. And here I am, adding to that problem.

The story of Rashomon concerns a murder, and the witness statements of all the people involved. Each recollection of events contradicts the others, and each time the witness describes themselves in the best possible way. It's interesting to see how events change from one moment to the next.

It looks great. Despite only having two locations, the ruined gate at the start of the film is an impressive sight. The acting is very staged, and the booklet that came with the DVD draws parallels to the acting style of silent movies, which makes sense.

Reading too much about this film beforehand could ruin it. It was revolutionary for its time, but this film has influenced so many later works that its impact is going to be diminished. But there's still enough to make this worth watching.

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