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Herzog: Rashomon “has complete balance”

Werner HerzogIn this interview posted at YouTube, Werner Herzog describes Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon as a movie exceptional in that it “has complete balance”.

Herzog’s idea of the “Ecstatic Truth” in cinema actually sounds very similar to Kurosawa’s own concept and quest towards “perfect movies”, or “cinematic moments”. The difference, of course, is that Kurosawa did not see Rashomon, or any other of his films, to have attained a level where the movie would have constantly occupied that place.

Those not familiar with Kurosawa’s conceptual background may want to check out these YouTube clips.





That was pretty cool to see. I actually would have liked to hear more. I’m not a huge Herzog fan but I have always found him an interesting guy. I find a lot of truth in his cinematic philosophy. It is something all true artists strive for whether consciously or not.


Vili Maunula

Yes, it would have been great to see more of that.

Also I respect Herzog more than I actually enjoy his finished works. His DVD commentaries are excellent though, as are some of his methods of working. He is certainly an inspirational guy in many ways.


Jeremy Quintanilla

I too, not a big Herzog fan, but always found him fascinating in his approaches and ideas to how film making should be done. His thoughts on cinema to me are far more valuable then his is actual film work.

I thought of him to be far more knowledgeable in cinema then most directors living or dead, but he lack perhaps the ability to execute his ideals fully and although making some great films, they fall short to his thinkings, I do believe he would admit the same in some degree.


Vili Maunula

In a recent interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Herzog has just repeated his view that Rashomon has “something like a perfect balance”.

Herzog’s selection of five films finds Rashomon in rather interesting (even curious) company, I would say.



Aw, I like Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, Heart of Glass, Nosferatu, Fitzcarraldo! I think casting Kinski in Nosferatu is brilliant, and I think the fact that Werner loves Rashomon rocks!

Anybody who makes a film with a hypnotized cast is whack enough to be genius! When I watch Herzog speak, it reminds me that films admired by Directors may be appealing for reasons different than those of a general audience. I read below the text in which Werner Is talking about looking for the essential nugget of truth of what it is to be human, and to embed that in a film perfectly balanced…like Rashomon

and what I gain from it (particularly after witnessing the oddity Heart of Glass) is that one can search for truth in many places…but what I think Herzog really feels a kinship with is Kurosawa’s unflinching ability to make a hermetic unit.

Rashomon gets one breath of air…only at the end, when the woodcutter takes the child into another world…one breath away from the gate of ruin and the story of the samurai’s death and the wife’s rape-one breath away from despair and nihilism. Of course it is a child that signifies hope there, as in life. But, excepting that one brief breath of air, Kurosawa has constructed a completely airless, hermetically-sealed world which represents a kind of unified vision of such purity and uncompromising intensity that Herzog cannot help but be envious.

Of course to create such a world the stars have to align correctly. It’s not enough to have talent and will. That’s why Grizzly Man is a tragic statement and not a great film. The hermetic world is created by the Grizzly man himslef, not the “director” Werner Herzog!

But, I can see what Werner was shooting for, and why he admiresRashomon. I just think he probably was closer to achieving it when he hypnotized the cast of his film, rather than clipping together bits from another’s self-documentation of his rather tragically off-kilter life.

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