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RASHOMON

Director: AKIRA KUROSAWA

88 minutes| Japan| 1950| Subtitled| Black and White| D-Cinema


The sensation created by Akira Kurosawa’s feudal suspense story back in 1950 not only opened up Japanese cinema to the West but eventually added a whole new term to our cultural lexicon. ‘Rashomon’ is actually the gateway to old Kyoto, where a priest, a woodcutter and a tramp gather to discuss the perplexing history of rape and murder they’ve just heard. Nowadays, of course, it also signals an unfolding narrative positing different versions of events from different perspectives (think The Usual Suspects) – a compelling way of drawing us into a fictional world, prompting questions about mankind’s mendacity, or otherwise. Here the sheer dynamism of Kurosawa’s roving camera impresses almost as much as the provocative central concept, while the lusty presence of bandit Toshiro Mifune established the role of thrusting rogue he’d play in various Kurosawa classics to come. Showing in a new digital version, this is an essential reissue to mark the great director’s centenary. Notes by Trevor Johnston

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