Rashomon Effect Essay

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The priest, already so confused and disenchanted by the testimonies, cannot respond, but the woodcutter intervenes.

He takes the child into his arms and, just as the rain stops and Sun breaks through the clouds, the woodcutter begins to return home and vows to protect the child.

, 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.

The "Rashomon effect" has since been deployed often in other television shows and films.

It provides an effective plot device through which writers can experiment with character, tone, and dramatic structure.

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.

On the whole, Kurosawa’s views were far less misanthropic than Akutagawa’s stories; Kurosawa’s films acknowledge the lowest lows of human despair in films such as , Kurosawa injects Akutagawa’s otherwise bleak scenario with optimism, introducing an abandoned baby in the final scenes—a symbol of humanity’s vulnerability and, as a kind-hearted Samaritan picks up the child to bring it home and make it part of his family, a sign of humankind’s good intentions.

Under a ruined gate outside Kyoto during a time of civil war, a cynical peasant (Kichijiro Ueda) takes refuge from the rain and finds a priest (Minoru Chiaki) and woodcutter (Takashi Shimura).


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