Rashomon and the Thematic Energy of Unreliable Narrators

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The Woodcutter be like: Nah, it was dumber than that.

Rashomon Unreliable Narrators

RKO Radio Footage

By Meg Shields · Printed on August twelfth, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your day by day distraction of curated video content material sourced from throughout the net. Right now, we’re watching a video essay that appears at why movies make use of unreliable narrators by taking a look at Akira Kurosawa’s traditional, Rashomon.


It’s arduous to understate Rashomon‘s affect. Directed by Akira Kurosawa, the 1950 movie is commonly credited as being the rationale that the “Greatest Overseas Movie” class exists on the Oscars. The movie’s construction was unconventional for its time ⁠— and stays radical to today even within the face of admirable imitators.

Based mostly on two tales by Kurosawa’s frequent affect Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Rashomon tells the story (nicely, tales) of a homicide. Three strangers take shelter from a raging rain storm within the shadow of the decrepit Rashomon gate. To go the time, the three males recall a current scandal: after a noblewoman (Machiko Kyo) was raped, her husband (Masayuki Mori) turns up useless, and a thief (Toshiro Mifune) is accused of the crime. Through the ensuing trial, every get together (together with the husband, whose ghost testifies by way of a medium), tells a unique model of occasions. After every testimony, the woodcutter confesses that he noticed the entire thing, recounting one more completely different story about what truly occurred.

The reality is in there someplace. However no witness is dependable. Not even the woodcutter, who we later study is much less honorable than he appears. This phenomenon has since been named the “Rashomon impact.” Completely different individuals keep in mind the identical occasions in a different way, a reality that might have been keenly felt by Kurasawa in post-war, American-occupied Japan.

For a deeper have a look at Rashomon‘s radical story construction, try the next video essay:

Watch “Why Motion pictures Misinform You”:


Who made this?

This video essay on why Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, and movies prefer it, blur goal reality is by Adam Tinius, who runs the YouTube channel Entertain the Elk. They’re based mostly in Pasadena, California. You’ll be able to comply with them on YouTube right here. And you’ll comply with them on Twitter here.

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Associated Subjects: Akira Kurosawa, Filmmaking, The Queue

Meg Shields is the common-or-garden farm boy of your desires and a senior contributor at Movie College Rejects. She presently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How’d They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She can be a curator for One Good Shot and a contract author for rent. Meg will be discovered screaming about John Boorman’s ‘Excalibur’ on Twitter right here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).



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