Rashomon

Brimming with action while incisively examining the nature of truth, Rashomon is perhaps the finest film ever to investigate the philosophy of justice. Through an ingenious use of camera and flashbacks, Kurosawa reveals the complexities of human nature as four people recount different versions of the story of a man’s murder and the rape of his wife. Toshiro Mifune gives another commanding performance in the eloquent masterwork that revolutionized film language and introduced Japanese cinema to the world.

This 1950 film by Akira Kurosawa is more than a classic: it’s a cinematic archetype that has served as a template for many a film since. (Its most direct influence was on a Western remake, The Outrage, starring Paul Newman and directed by Martin Ritt.) In essence, the facts surrounding a rape and murder are told from four different and contradictory points of view, suggesting the nature of truth is something less than absolute. The cast, headed by Kurosawa’s favorite actor, Toshiro Mifune, is superb. –Tom Keogh

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