Salient. Official Newspaper of Victoria University Students Assn. Volume 40 Number 2. Feb 7 1977
Rashomon is a winner of the Grand Prize in Venice in 1951 and Best Foreign Film in the Academy Awards, the first Japnese film to achieve international significance.
The story is set in the 12th century, and taken from two modern short stories. Rashomon was the largest gate in the ancient capital of Kyoto, fallen into disrepair after four centuries and the ravages of civil war. In it three men sheltering from the rain — a priest, a woodcutter and a 'commoner' — tell the story of a murder that has recently taken place. The facts, that a samurai and his lady were waylaid in a forest by a bandit who raped the lady, and that the samurai died in the incident, his body to be discovered by the woodcutter, provide the basis for four different accounts. No one truth emerges, and the three men are left feeling, respectivity desperately hopeful, depressed, and gleefully cynical, about the state of man. The film ends with an incident which does something to override the frustrating relativity of truth, and adds a note of optimism to the deeper theme of the preservative instinct of the ego.
"Rashomon is, essentially, a ruthlessly honest film. Exquisitely made, electrically exciting, it reaches down — by means of these qualities — to a quiet, giant truth nestled in every one of us. Ultimately what the film leaves us with is candour and consolation: if we can't be saints, at lease we can be under standingly human."
— Stanley Kauffmann.