Rashomon Effect Essay

But in court the priest and woodcutter heard the varying testimonies of the violated wife (Machiko Kyo); the bandit Tajomaru (Toshiro Mifune) who was accused of murder and rape; and even the murdered samurai (Masayuki Mori) by way of a medium (Noriko Honma).Each testimony differs with just two facts among them constant: a rape and death have occurred.

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, Akira Kurosawa’s philosophical tale whose enduring influence can be measured both by the spread of Japanese cinema across the globe and its impact on modern storytelling.

Expounded through an unconventional structure in which the same events have contradictory interpretations by its participants, the film takes the shape of an existential puzzle without an answer, employing unreliable narrators and flashbacks through which memory and truth become suspect.

After three testimonies and three incompatible versions of the same story are relayed to the peasant by the priest and woodcutter, there’s yet another hint of doubt.

The woodcutter admits his own court testimony was false, and that he witnessed the entire scene.

four testimonies are relayed by two narrators to one listener, who provides a surrogate for the cinematic audience.

Rather than getting one reliable story, which most film-goers in the mid-twentieth century expected from feature films, 's viewers instead get a frame narrative built around an unstable system of stories, which acquire significance as something like a variable myth cycle rather than as a mutually determined series of events.

Countless other films and books have since borrowed this structure to explore the reality of events and their subjective truth; even courts of law have coined the term “the employs a setting specific to a tumultuous period in Japan’s history, the film’s orientation is far worldlier and doesn’t limit itself to Japanese ideals; its far-reaching questions and implications are broader than any nationalistic concerns.

As a result, the 1950 release became an immeasurably significant motion picture, not only for the Japanese film industry but also its preeminent filmmaker.

The peasant, content that no meaning exists in such anecdotal contradictions, pessimistically resolves “Don’t worry about it—it isn’t as though men were reasonable.” All at once, the three men at the gate hear the cry of a baby.

The amoral peasant begins to take the child’s clothes to sell for food, but the priest and woodcutter are appalled by this.


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