Brigands and robbers -- Japan -- 12th century -- Drama, Murder -- Japan -- 12th century -- Drama, Rape -- Japan -- 12th century -- Drama, Storytelling -- Japan -- 12th century -- Drama


(In the Woods)

Archival Print


Toshiro Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyo, Takashi Shimura,

The film that opened the world’s eyes to the pleasures of Japanese cinema, Rashomon is famous for telling the story of a brutal encounter in the woods outside Kyoto—a samurai and his wife are stopped by a bandit, the wife raped, the husband killed—from the perspectives of all the participants and witnesses. Whose story is “true”? Rashomon both celebrates and annihilates point-of-view—call it late Cubism or early postmodernism, in a twelfth-century postapocalyptic landscape. What is amazing is that this film about storytelling is also a kind of pure cinema: between Kurosawa’s instinctual direction and Kazuo Miyagawa’s virtuoso camera, there is almost no need for words. The camera writes the account of a gesture, enacts the rush of a forest breeze: truth expressed twenty-four frames per second, a little different each time. Standing out among a stellar cast is Toshiro Mifune’s bug-bitten bandit, his antics a foil for surprising, even confusing, depths.

Judy Bloch
  • Akira Kurosawa
  • Shinobu Hashimoto
  • Kazuo Miyagawa
  • Japanese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 88 mins
  • Academy Film Archive
  • Janus Films

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Rashomon documents  

Rasho-Mon (exhibitor manual), RKO Pictures, 2014

Rashomon restored (review), Citybeat, Andy Klein, 2008

Kurosawa & Mifune (program note), Film Forum (New York), 2002

Kurosawa and Mifune (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 2002

Rashomon (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 1999

Rashomon (program note), Nantes Festival of Three Continents, 1998

To tell the truth (review), Village Voice, J. Hoberman, 1998

Akira Kurosawa (article), American Film, Gerald Peary, 1989

Thursday (review), Village Voice, Andrew Sarris, 1986

The films of Akira Kurosawa (press release), Pacific Film Archive, 1974

Displaying 10 of 29 publicly available documents.

View all Rashomon documentation on CineFiles.