Film Analysis: Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa

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Film Analysis: Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa
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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Use of Flashbacks in Rashomon
  • Rashomon and the Criticism of Humanity
  • Portrayal of Women in Rashomon


Rashomon, produced by Akira Kurosawa, is a Japanese film from the 1950s.T his Rashomon analysis essay shows that the film is completely different from what people were used to seeing in that genre at the time; the films of that time were usually about issues involving samurai (Marias, Miguel). Director Kurosawa made a radical change with his approach and made a reflection on the mysteries of truth film. In the film, Kurosawa used a lot special effects to make it more dramatic, for example, the heavy rain and the music. The heavy rain transmits sadness, and the music is key to the dramatic intensity is well made. Also, this film has some symbolism for example the baby at the end of the film and when the rain ends. The baby symbolizes innocence and faith in humanity. The end of the rain symbolizes the mystery is over. The movie starts with three characters seeking cover from heavy rain in an abandoned place, an old demolished temple called Rashomon. These three men initiate a discussion about an incident that happened in the forest, where a man was murdered and a woman was raped. The narrative structure of the film is based on flashbacks, corresponding to many versions regarding the incident, because each character tells a different story. This narrative form allows us to see clearly the theme of the stories and how Kurosawa is criticizing humanity, the human conditions in the film.

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The Use of Flashbacks in Rashomon

The narrative forms reflect the theme where a bright amount of flashbacks referred either to true and false facts. True because they are the subjective experience of each witness, as narrated false because they are lying. Therefore, some character witnessed at the same event, tell a different testimonies of the incident. For example, Tajomaru is the bandit in the film and he explains in the court he only wants the samurai wife and he never though to kill him. Also, he said that he never rape the samurai wife, because she allowed to touch her. On the other hand, the woodcutter, the samurai wife and the dead samurai told different versions regarding the incident, then this makes the story differs from each other stories. Unfortunately, this happen in real life that people only seeks to protect their own welfare and not that of their neighbors.

Rashomon and the Criticism of Humanity

By the narrative we see, that the author in the film criticizing humanity and showing that humanity is selfish, jealous, deceitful and manipulative. Therefore, in this film it stands out the importance given to the feelings of the characters. For example, Tajomaro shows a dark feeling as ruthless, and deceitful; the samurai wife showing the innocence; the samurai is spiteful and cowardly; and the woodcutter is reserved. Kurosawa exposes the human dimensions, the variety of feelings and emotions that appear to circumstance and how we act in this regard. It is a reflection on life through the portrait of emotions. Rashomon is a film that functions as an analysis of the human being, where they show their selfishness and vanity, your communication needs, and its relation to reality and truth. We can see in the film each character make a manipulation of the narrative to protect their own welfare. Therefore, the world can be described as hell because it is full of selfishness, manipulative, lying and how the society men’s is irrational with women’s. For this reason, the director of the movie criticizes human conditions.

Portrayal of Women in Rashomon

In addition, in the film we can see human conditions are unreasonable. for the reason that society is very closed minded. Therefore, in the film we see human conditions are something irrational, because it shows that in the men's society is very cruel to women’s. Therefore, in this film, the director shows that men are irrational with female society. For the reason, in the film women are portrayed in each of the stories. For instance, in the story of the Tajomaru describe the samurai wife is an unhappy women in her marriage. In the story of dead samurai, the women portrait as slut because she has been with two men’s. In this film, we see the men devalues women considered lower compared to them and women don’t had the same rights as men. Unfortunately, if women have an affair with other men the society would judge and the men devaluate as promiscuous woman. But, if men’s have an affair with other women unfortunate the society regards it as a triumph. The perception of reality and truth is that today these prejudices continue in the society.

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