Monday, 19 November 2007


Dir: Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai / Shichinin no samurai, Madadayo / Not Yet, Yojimbo)
Cast: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura
Japan, 1950

Seen: March 18, 2007 thanks to the Toronto Public Library and July 5, 2007 at Cinematheque

Reason to see: It's on my List of 101 Films I Can't Believe I Haven't Seen, to inspire myself to see a film by the one, the only Akira Kurosawa. It also was week 28/52 for my challenge of seeing films in the theatre 52 weeks in a row.

Reason to review: A big thank you to the Akira Kurosawa blog-a-thon, for which this would have continued to remain on my 'to review' list - current at 200+ films

I came to watching this which absolutely zero information on the film, and I would say none is really needed - it's that good. One of the reasons I've put off writing about it is exactly for the reason that it can be seen without any knowledge about it for it to work. I think the power of Rashômon is in belief. Belief in the character, their stories, their motivations at any given times. Even when unlikely and your brain is telling you "Naw, that can't be..." you heart is there at every single moment of the film be it keeping shelter from the rain, walking through the forest, hiding, fighting or frightened you are there. When you do not yet know, you want to know. The conflict in the story becomes the conflict in you. After you do know, are you glad that you did? What do you believe and is that what you actually want to believe? The film is expertly crafted with amazing visuals and music that create and fit the tempo and tale of each moment so clearly. The acting by the entire cast is astonishing. A film that is not only well worth watching, but I would consider it an essential. One of the best I have seen in many many years.

Warnings: Sexual violence

Shannon's Overall View:
I thought it was excellent
I've already watched it again, convinced other people to see it and added it to my 'to buy' list
I highly recommend it

It is a rare occurence that my notes during the viewing of a film are one page, and that being the case here I thought it might be fun to share them. The notes below contain major points in the plot and style of the film so I would not recommend reading them unless you have seen the film. Then again, with my handwriting I'd be impressed if you make out more than a few words.

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© Shannon Ridler, 2007


Anonymous said...

I had the great opportunity to see this on the big screen earlier this year as part of the Janus 50 of Great Film festival and wow. I'd always heard of Kurosawa but this was my first introduction and was it ever good.

I'm still trying to figure out HOW they managed to get that much rain - which I'm assuming is artificial - and the medium who retells the story is CREEPY as hell.

I should give it another viewing down the road.

Suzie Ridler said...

I like seeing your notes! I didn't read them though since I haven't seen the movie and it sounds like a big winner. Bummer about the sexual violence though, dang.

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