Sunday, 18 July 2010

Rashomon - Filmhouse - 1/7/10



Where do you start?

It's Kurosawa.

That's the best place to start.

Kurosawa is, let us not forget, the director of some of the greatest films ever made.

"Seven Samurai", "Yojimbo", "Ikira", "Red Beard", "Ran", "Kagemusha", "Sanjuro" and "Throne of Blood" are just some of the better known works of this master. Several of them were later remade or served as inspiration for some of the most successful films of all time; "Star Wars", "The Magnificent Seven" and "A Fistful of Dollars" being good examples.

Toshiro Mifune anyone?

An actor who appeared in nearly all of Kurosawas masterpieces and who has more screen presence in his eyebrows than Robert "Twilight" Pattinson has in his whole, pale, body. I'm not even being facetious's a bald fact that Mifune is one of the greatest actors in the history of cinema.

If you are unaware of him then you need to rectify that now.


"Rashomon" is a terrifyingly wonderful film.

It really is frighteningly good.

A simple, but awful, tale of a beautiful young woman and her husband who are attacked by an infamous bandit which is told, and retold, by several witnesses...including, at one point, the ghost of the now dead husband.

As the stories weave in and out of themselves and the plot, almost literally, thickens it becomes increasingly difficult to state with any sort of certainty what has happened. The only things we know for certain is that an attack has taken place and that the husband is now dead. Other than that there are no certainties.

You may not have seen "Rashomon" (yet) but you will have been subject to its influence on a host of other films and directors...remade in 1964 as a Western (as was "Seven Samurai") starring Paul Newman it has also prompted homage from films like "One Night at McCools" to "Vantage Point". Even shows like "King of the Hill" have used its plot structure to tell stories on occasion.

It isn't really possible to be too gushing about this's what cinema was made for.

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