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Forever “Rashomon”

  Akira Kurosawa – a lone hero in the oriental film industry, this outstanding film master has influenced countless filmmakers, Stephen Spielberg said: “Akira Kurosawa is the Shakespeare of the film industry.” Akira Kurosawa in In his 50-year film career, he has directed nearly 30 films. His unique means of film expression and film themes touching the secrets of human emotions have fascinated Western filmmakers and even oriental filmmakers. Akira Kurosawa’s film “Rashomon” won the Golden Lion at the 1951 Venice Film Festival, the first time a Western film festival gave the top prize to an Asian director. This is undoubtedly a peak of Akira Kurosawa’s film career, and it is also a historic breakthrough for Japan as one of the representatives of oriental culture.
  It seems that all film masters love the masterpieces of literary masters, and Akira Kurosawa is no exception. Although he is an excellent screenwriter himself, he still chose the works of Akutagawa Ryunosuke, a famous short story writer in modern Japan, as the basis for the film. . Japanese writer Akutagawa Ryusuke was a novelist during the Taisho period in Japan. Many of his works are expressions of his thinking about real life. The pursuit of “truth” is the unchanging theme of human beings. In order to express his unique understanding of “truth”, Akutagawa Ryunosuke created the literary work “In the Bamboo Forest” that amazes the world. The writer adopts a unique first-person narrative method in “In the Bamboo Forest” to highlight the theme. And Akira Kurosawa, a master who pays attention to the secrets of human nature, saw the uniqueness of “In the Bamboo Forest” and put it on the screen. Akira Kurosawa borrowed the title and opening part of Akutagawa Ryunosuke’s other novel “Rashomon”, incorporated the story of “In the Bamboo Forest”, and combined these two short stories to create a novel that is breathtaking in the West. The movie “Rashomon”.
  At the beginning of the film, there is a panoramic control, the rain is pouring, the surrounding is gray, and the decadent Ping An Jing stands quietly on this stormy land. People were hiding here together, talking and talking. They talked about a strange murder. The special thing about the murder was that the witnesses’ testimony was contradictory and could not point to the real murderer. This event is narrated by seven related characters (the seven people include the woodcutter, the walking monk, the catcher, the old woman, the Tajomaru, the woman, and the samurai). Each of the seven related characters is narrated separately in the first person, and each of them narrates a truth of the event in his eyes. This means that there are seven versions of an event, and seven versions correspond to the same event, which logically confirms that all seven characters are unreliable as narrators. Here Akira Kurosawa uses the techniques of episodes, flashbacks and montages to present the characters’ speeches in the first person.
  The woodcutter, the discoverer of the corpse. In his confession, he explained the location and state of the corpse, the situation around the corpse, and items such as ropes and combs. His narration is relatively light in emotion, but it is mixed with speculation and judgment, and it is ambiguous. For example, “It seems that the man must have had a hard fight before he was killed.” Another example is the woodcutter who said that the deceased was killed by a knife, but he did not elaborate on the knife, and claimed that he did not see the knife. Obviously his claims are questionable. And the statements of the relevant figures later remind readers that the woodcutter’s descriptions and judgments are unreliable.
  A walking monk, a witness to the whereabouts of the samurai couple the day before the accident. In his narration, the appearance of the samurai couple is described in detail, and the most impressive thing is the samurai’s weaponry. Whether the samurai couple is as depicted by the walking monk is impossible to verify. As we all know, Buddhist disciples are forbidden to lie, and they observe the world with Buddhist compassion, so his comments are mixed with his narration, such as “I never dreamed that the man would have such an ending. It is truly like life. Morning dew, life is like lightning”. Clearly the walking monk’s narrative carries its own values ​​and outlook on life.
  Zhu Kuai mainly stated the time and place of arresting the suspect Tajomaru. In his narration, he also explained the background of Tajomaru, with an obvious judgment of likes and dislikes. The more Tajomaru is portrayed as a cruel, lecherous man, the more prominently he captures the fast. Therefore, at this time, Duoxiang Pill is just the Duoxiang Pill in the fast eyes.
  The old woman, the mother of the deceased’s wife. In her narration, she explained the identity, age and character of the deceased, and vaguely showed her protection for her daughter. Such as highlighting her daughter’s staunchness and duty, “strong and competitive, no less than a man. Except for the samurai, she has no relationship with other men.” In her narration, she portrayed her daughter as a virtuous person. Therefore, the old woman’s account is also unreliable.
  From the above four people’s descriptions, we can not understand the whole story of this incident, but can only constitute the general background of the incident. So how does the protagonist make the statement?
  The narration of Tajomaru, the ghost of the woman and the samurai is detailed, but also more subjective. They all use their own narrative logic, according to their own thinking and emotions, and narrate from their own standpoint.
  Tajomaru, one of the main parties in the incident. His narration is frank and straightforward, but there are also many points of extension, that is, he uses the theme from time to time, full of metaphors. For example, in his narrative, murder has multiple signifiers, and reveals the delicate relationship between people, and deliberately emphasizes that the samurai killed in a fair duel with the samurai, without using despicable means, Between the words, he also has a very detached attitude towards the fate to be sentenced in the future. In such a narrative, Tajomaru portrays himself as a reckless hero who is not afraid of power. He not only bluntly expresses his desires and confesses to the murder, but also mocks the power of the government. This kind of narrative is extremely intriguing. We have no way of knowing whether Tajomaru was a temporary swashbuckler or actually killed the samurai.
  The woman is the wife of the victim. Her narrative begins from the perspective of a woman in a particular situation (being raped). Her narration always focuses on the issue of stigma, emphasizing the psychological activities at that time. The abuse of Tajomaru made her feel ashamed, and being abused in front of her husband made her even more embarrassed. The most unbearable thing was the indifference of her husband. The words highlighted her weakness, helplessness, and shame and anger in an unbearable situation. A strong woman cannot stand contempt, so she decides to kill her husband and then kill herself to bury her shame. After listening to women’s statements, we seem to be more sympathetic to women’s experiences and more likely to identify with women’s choices. But if what the woman said was true, what Sohomaru said was false.
  The samurai is the victim. His narrative is expressed through ghosts. He avoided the inner feelings of seeing a robber rape his wife, emphasizing the wife’s weakness and obedience to the robber. In his narration, it was his wife who first asked to kill him, but the robber did not obey his wife and killed himself, but let him go. Facing the betrayal and viciousness of his wife, the loss of male dignity and the trampling of the honor of the samurai, he chose to “stab in the chest”. His account indicates suicide, which in turn overturns Tajomaru and the woman’s confession.
  The narratives of the seven people appearing in the novel form a “field” where many people speak loudly. In this field, each person’s narrative discourse is a kind of “signifier”, and the signifier is constantly renovated in the narrative, but it does not point to the actual events. There are unreliable factors implicit in each person’s account, and after comparing the seven confessions, it becomes even more confusing. Did the deceased commit suicide or homicide? What was the ultimate reason for the killing? Is the tool a dagger or a large knife? Where is the murder weapon now? Secretly opened a corner that was far from enough to see the whole picture.
  Obviously, Akira Kurosawa didn’t want to present a love murder case that could reveal the truth to the world, nor did he want to discover the culprit through complicated plots. We cannot simply view Rashomon as a detective movie. Here Akira Kurosawa tells us a story about “truth”. What is the truth? Can we obtain the truth? Are our eyes and ears reliable? Are other people’s narratives credible? Maybe in “Rashomon” This dialogue: “In this world, what people say is the most unbelievable” Not diminished, still thought provoking.