The Baby in Rashomon
In the film Rashomon, a 1950 Japanese crime mystery movie directed by Akira Kurosawa, presents truth and honesty of human beings as its central themes. Containing an arsenal of symbols, the film describes a crime incident through different perspectives from the characters related to the happening, and the movie starts after the incident has already taken place. In the beginning, it leads off with three main characters – the woodcutter, the priest, and the commoner – sitting under Rashomon, a worn down temple, as a shelter protecting them from the thunderstorm. Confused and terrified, the woodcutter reluctantly recounts the story of the murdered man to the commoner, and the priest later adds to the story. After a series of severe struggling of the woodcutter, the movie suddenly brings in a very obscure, optimistic ending. With that in mind, the significance of the ending could only be decoded once the audience first identifies the effect of perspectives and symbolism.
Inside the words told by the woodcutter and the priest, five people testify on court after the incident takes place. It is said to be that the woodcutter discovers the murdered man three days earlier in a forest, and the priest runs into the man and his wife traveling through the forest just before the murder. The other three people who testify are apparently the only firsthand witnesses: a notorious bandit named Tajomaru, who murders the man and rapes his wife; the man’s wife; and the man himself, who testifies through a medium. The three essentially tell a similar story – that Tajomaru bounds the man and rapes his wife. However, they contradict one another in the motivations and the actual actions of the killing. The differences in these stories sets fire on the conflict; every individual, except the priest, distorts his or her story in order to simply keep hold of one’s semblance and morals toward one’s advantage. Having learned such selfishness from the people, the priest...
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