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Rashomon

is a 1950 Jidaigeki psychological thriller/crime film directed by Akira Kurosawa, working in close collaboration with cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa. It stars Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyō, Masayuki Mori, and Takashi Shimura. The plot of the story and characters are based upon Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s short story "In a Grove", with the title and framing story being based on "Rashomon", another short story by Akutagawa. Every element is largely identical, from the murdered samurai speaking through a Shinto psychic, the bandit in the forest, the monk, the rape of the wife and the dishonest retelling of the events in which everyone shows their ideal self by lying. The story takes place in the 8th century at Rashomon, the South gate to Heian Kyo (modern Kyoto).

Plot

The film opens on a woodcutter (; Kikori, played by Takashi Shimura) and a priest (; Tabi Hōshi, Minoru Chiaki) sitting beneath the Rashōmon city gate to stay dry in a downpour. A commoner (Kichijiro Ueda) joins them and they tell him that they have witnessed a disturbing story, which they then begin recounting to him. The woodcutter claims he found the body of a murdered samurai three days earlier while looking for wood in the forest. As he testifies he first found a woman's hat (which belonged to the wife), then a samurai cap (which belonged to the bandit), then cut rope (which had bound the husband), then an amulet, and finally he came upon the body. Upon discovering the body, he says, he fled in a panic to notify the authorities. The priest says that he saw the samurai with his wife travelling the same day the murder happened. Both men are then summoned to testify in court, where a fellow witness presents the captured bandit Tajōmaru, who claims to have followed the couple after coveting the woman when he glimpsed her in the forest.

Awards