Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rashomon - Akira Kurosawa

Good movie, as movies go, and a fascinating topic by itself. 

A passerby takes shelter at a ruin during a heavy thunderstorm, and there he finds a priest and a woodcutter discussing a very strange murder case at which they just gave testimony. A samurai has been murdered, a bandit caught for it. Apart from these two, the Samurai's wife and the woodcutter who found the body, form the set of four people whose widely varying accounts of the incident, make the case quite puzzling to say the least. 

Was there indeed a final truth ? In a way thats irrelevant. Whats far more interesting , are the interpretations that come up from the people. Sometimes people could be lying outright, for various motives, and there's plenty of that in the the movie. At other times, and this makes it even more fascinating, is the nature of memory itself. Its not a factual , set in stone thing, its colored , and hugely altered by so many things: perception, motivation, setting. And every time one accesses a memory, it doesn't necessarily remain the same. ( Classic example, the increasing confidence of the eye witnesses, as they are coached by police lawyers etc This is all scientifically proven stuff, not some wishy washy armchair theory)  Even more fascinating were the experiments about planting fake memories, nicely shown in Waltz with Bashir. The whole thing was brought even more starkly in perspective, as an incident at work, showed at least one classic case of 2 people giving widely varying accounts of an incident, with perhaps both of them convinced of the veracity of their version. 

Anyway, overall a good watch, even if parts of it are a bit slow, by modern fast and furious viewing standards.


quaintkal said...

one of the very first films i'd seen of the genius! :)

Tess said...

@kal - yep, I'm just beginning, but he seems a genius alright!