Rashômon (1950)

(On DVD, November 2007) Here’s one classic that lives up to its reputation. As the title of the film has become a by-word for a specific situation (namely, situations where witnesses tell a different story about the same event), it’s interesting to finally do one’s homework and watch the source of all the fuss. Surprisingly modern for its time, what with the moving camera, subjective reality and muddy moral alignments, Rashomon may not be without its long or strange moments, but it rewards the attentive viewer. While there may not be as much substance here as believed (and too many establishing shots), the cinematic technique is fascinating, the performances are worth a look (Toshiro Mifune, in particular, is fascinating as a caged criminal) and the basic idea of the film has seldom been done better, even after nearly six decades of imitations. Now that the film is freely available on-line, what’s your excuse?

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