Rashomon (1950)

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Akira Kurosawa directs Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyō and Takashi Shimura in this tale of a murder recalled from 4 different viewpoints.

This is a moment I feared when starting this movie diary. Watching a classic I should have made time for years ago, finding it merely OK, then having to publicly say so. Now all 4 readers are going to know I prefer Fast and Furious films to bonafide masterpieces. Rashomon is a fine little film – the beautiful framing of the shots imaginative, the performances strong (if a little overwrought) and the spartan use of three simple sets an impressive trick. The truth is something we decide, and sometimes, for our own sakes,  we choose not to see the woods for the trees. Got it. Our take on reality is corrupted by our own weaknesses and doubts, memory is the first casualty. Great. But aside from an exhausting scrabble in the woods (where two combatants grow even more breathless as they fight on and on) plus an id driven turn by a randy, unfiltered Mifune, you watch Rashomon for its historical importance and its revolutionary filmmaking not for any real entertainment value or modern emotional relevance. Important but no longer essential viewing.

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