Rashomon is one of the greatest of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's films, the winner of the 1951 Venice Festival prize and the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1952. It features Toshiru Mifune, the best-known Japanese actor in the West, as the bandit, an accused rapist and murderer. At the beginning of the film, a woodcutter, priest, and commoner happen to meet at the ruined gate--Rashomon--outside the city of Kyoto. This tale of rape and murder is first seen through the eyes of the woodcutter and the priest, both of whom have been touched by the events. The cynical, detached commoner, "everyman," listens to and comments upon their stories.
The central section of the film, a series of flashbacks and tales within tales, consists of the same events retold by the husband (speaking through a medium, from the grave), the wife, the bandit, and the woodcutter. Each tells what happened--or possibly, what should have happened. The film deals with multiple truths; Richie summarizes the director's point of view in the introduction: "the world is illusion, you yourself make reality, but this reality undoes you if you submit to being limited by what you have made."
The sixth title in the Rutgers Film in Print Series and the first Japanese film, this volume brings together for the first time the full continuity script of Rashomon; an introductory essay by Donald Richie; the Akutagawa stories upon which the film is based; critical reviews and commentaries on the film; a filmography; and a bibliography.