Rashomon Effect Essay

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More than one of the testimonies, if not all, including the woodcutters, must be false.

They cannot all be true given the opposing possibilities of the samurai’s death, the missing dagger, and a number of other loose ends.

It engages the viewer by asking him or her to evaluate contradictory versions of events, essentially turning the viewer into a kind of detective.

Besides Akutagawa, other modernist writers like William Faulkner and Virginia Woolf have used something like the "Rashomon effect" to generate unstable, impressionistic worlds that bend and distort according to the perspective of narration.

After three testimonies and three incompatible versions of the same story are relayed to the peasant by the priest and woodcutter, there’s yet another hint of doubt.

The woodcutter admits his own court testimony was false, and that he witnessed the entire scene.But in court the priest and woodcutter heard the varying testimonies of the violated wife (Machiko Kyo); the bandit Tajomaru (Toshiro Mifune) who was accused of murder and rape; and even the murdered samurai (Masayuki Mori) by way of a medium (Noriko Honma).Each testimony differs with just two facts among them constant: a rape and death have occurred.He claims to have seen the bandit pleading with the woman to run away with him after the rape.In the woodcutter’s version, the wife responds with indecision, and then demands that the two men duel for her hand., Akira Kurosawa’s philosophical tale whose enduring influence can be measured both by the spread of Japanese cinema across the globe and its impact on modern storytelling.Expounded through an unconventional structure in which the same events have contradictory interpretations by its participants, the film takes the shape of an existential puzzle without an answer, employing unreliable narrators and flashbacks through which memory and truth become suspect.When tasked with adapting existing material, Hashimoto settled on sources by prolific short story writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927), who, decades earlier, authored the two stories that would become Hashimoto’s inspiration for .Akutagawa’s stories questioned the nature of truth, how truth is relative, and determines, through an unavoidable air of hopelessness, that an all-encompassing truth does not exist outside of an individual’s own assigned meaning.Countless other films and books have since borrowed this structure to explore the reality of events and their subjective truth; even courts of law have coined the term “the employs a setting specific to a tumultuous period in Japan’s history, the film’s orientation is far worldlier and doesn’t limit itself to Japanese ideals; its far-reaching questions and implications are broader than any nationalistic concerns.As a result, the 1950 release became an immeasurably significant motion picture, not only for the Japanese film industry but also its preeminent filmmaker.


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