@MusterX GTFIH! At Muster's insistence--and I do mean insistence--I watched Rashomon, Akira Kurosawa's 1950 murder mystery of sorts. It was, in fact, my first Kurosawa film. First off, let me just go ahead and get this out of the way: I liked this film. About 10 minutes in I wasn't sure I was going to get into it, but once the story's main thrust really kicks in I was pretty engaged. It's not what I thought it would be--just based on what I know about Kurosawa I was expecting some grand samurai epic--but in this case I was actually pleased that my expectations were subverted. I am always interested in filmmakers who do a lot with a little, and that's what Kurosawa does here. With nothing more than a cast of five characters, a few costumes, a couple of swords, and a few nondescript locations (sans one dilapidated Buddhist monstery), he tells a small but engaging story in a way that I don't think I've ever seen before. So overall I thought it was pretty rad. Now, just a few thoughts in no particular order: * Despite being made in 1950, the film had a pretty modern feel to me. The performances, the themes and the camerawork all struck me as a bit ahead of their time in some ways. * How are we to interpret the Woodcutter's story? Are we to interpret his story as the truth--or at least the most truthful--since he went last? I'm not sure. After all, it's made clear that he's harboring secrets of his own regarding this tale. I walked away feeling like the truth was unknowable. It lies somewhere in between all these stories and untangling it is not really the point of the movie. Do I like that? I'm not sure. There's a part of me that would have liked some kind of definitive wrap up, but on the other hand the unresolved ambiguity is compelling. * It was interesting to see Toshiro Mifune in a role like this. Instead of some regal samurai, he was wild, literally crazy and like an animal. It's a stark contrast to the role I best know him for, which was his role as Lord Toranaga in the 1980 mini-series Shogun. Anyone remember Shogun? Epic show that no one ever talks about anymore: * I thought the fight choreography came off as pretty realistic. Normally we get these very stylized sword battles, but in this film it's probably a lot more like it actually was: Two dudes swinging wildly at each other and scared as shit to get cut. Just like today, no doubt few men--samurai or not--back in that time actually had the constitution for battles to the death. The fear would be immense. If anything, this leads me to believe that the Woodcutter's story was the closest to the truth, because his version of the sword fight seemed the most realistic. * Speaking of swords, I thought Mifune's sword was interesting, because it's a Chinese sword rather than a Japanese sword. I wonder why Kurosawa decided to outfit him with a foreign sword instead of a traditional samurai sword. Today, those swords are often referred to as "tai chi swords": * I thought the performances all around were well done, but I have to call special attention to Machiko Kyo's. Not only was she visually striking, but I was impressed by her range: She could go from terrified damsel in distress to sad widow to crazy fucking psycho bitch, and without too much effort it seemed. Apparently she is still alive BTW. According to Wikipedia, she's 92. * The film raises an interesting and somber question: If your wife was raped, how would you react to it? Would you be perfectly sympathetic and supportive? Or would there be something deep down inside of you that would cause you to pull away from her in disgust? I have to say that if I was put in that situation, God forbid, I'm really not sure how I would react. Knowing that my wife had been taken by another man would be hard to deal with. Lastly, for anyone who is interested, I'd like to point out that there's an episode of the CriterionCast that covers the movie. I've listened to half of it. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it's interesting to hear the hosts' perspective on the film. If any wants to check it out, here's a link: http://criterioncast.com/podcast/criterioncast-episodes/episode-157-rashomon All right, well I have more thoughts but I'm just going to let the rest of them come out as conversation naturally unfolds. Who here has seen Rashomon? And what did you think of it?