After a month-long summer break, the film club returns with Kurosawa’s 1950 film Rashomon.
As you are all probably well aware, Rashomon was Kurosawa’s international breakthrough and remains one of his most acclaimed and discussed works. The film looks at notions of truth, representation and interpretation, but it has also been argued to deal with the guilt and trauma of postwar Japan. You can find a full introduction to the film on the Rashomon page while previous discussion is available through the discussion forum’s Rashomon tag. We have featured the film already twice in our film club series, first back in in 2008 and again in 2015. But it’s a film worth returning to, over and over again.
The film remains very topical in today’s “fake news” world and as a result its influence on other artists continues perhaps as strong as ever. Steven Spielberg’s production company is reportedly working on a TV series inspired by the film, as has been NBC studios, and although that one didn’t make the programming cut, the show is apparently now being eyed by Netflix. A couple of years back, Alex Cox ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to finance a western inspired by Rashomon, while there has been talk (although less so recently) also about a Taiwanese remake. Ten years ago, the protagonist Tajomaru sort of kind of but not quite got its own film, which while not very good, gave me the opportunity to write a review which remains one of my personal favourites from the ones that I have written for this website. Rashomon was also remade in Thailand for a 2011 release. It was pretty but perhaps not that necessary.
How would you adapt the film for a modern audience? Or would you? What is your response to the film? How does it stand up in our modern times? To ponder these questions and many others, the comments section below and the discussion forum are open for your thoughts, responses and theories.
For the film club, Rashomon kicks off a series of Kurosawa’s samurai films, with the equally magnificent Seven Samurai following it next month, so get ready! For the full film club schedule, see the film club page.