The film that made Kurosawa world famous, and which remains one of the greatest Japanese films. The screenplay is based on two unconnected stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa with major additions by Kurosawa. Set in the 12th century, it concerns a samurai and his wife traveling through the woods near Kyoto. They are stopped by a bandit, the wife is raped, the husband is killed. Different versions of the story are told (to the camera) by the participants and by a woodcutter who witnessed the incident. Each description is, of course, fundamentally different from all the others. What actually happened is never made clear, and the film has become recognized as a comment on the nature of reality and illusion. This view, arresting though it be, was not sufficient for Kurosawa; and he placed it in a larger and more social context by placing the retellings of the attack within the framework of the dialogues of the woodcutter, a priest, and a cynical commoner who take refuge beneath the Rashomon gate.

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