She collapses in despair, then retrieves the dagger, cuts his bonds, and tells him to kill her. The priest despairs that men cannot trust one another. When they reach the grove she sees her husband tied to a tree stump. The woodcutter reveals at RashÃƒÂ´mon that he knows more than he let on at the trial, thus bringing into question his own actions. You only have to nod. The priest and the woodcutter are recounting the story of a murdered samurai whose body the woodcutter discovered three days earlier in a forest grove. Because they are usually pointed at real things, we usually think we can believe what we see.
True, in that they present an accurate portrait of what each witness thinks happened. Another one wouldn't make a difference. He testifies that he is the one who found the body. They bow to one another, and the woodcutter turns. She retrieves the dagger, and cuts the samurai's bonds.
Tajomaru a bandit with a reputation for murder and lust had managed to tie up a samurai and rape his wife. He says that no one is honest. Both were summoned to testify at the murder trial, the priest who ran into the samurai and his wife traveling through the forest just before the murder occurred. The priest gives the baby to the woodcutter, saying that the woodcutter has given him reason to continue having hope in humanity. When the woodcutter berates the commoner for stealing the baby's kimono, the commoner deflects the criticism by condemning the parents who abandoned their child. Other actors have done very well too.
This simple revelation recasts the woodcutter's story and the subsequent theft of the dagger in a new light. He says it was he who killed the samurai. The film closes on the woodcutter, walking home with the baby. Film cameras are admirably literal, and faithfully record everything they are pointed at. Tajomaru is captured shortly afterward and is put on trial, but his story and the wife's are so completely different that a psychic is brought in to allow the murdered man to give his own testimony. A must watch for the ones who love classical movies. The film's hero is in some sense Kurosawa.
The catch being each version is to satisfy their own self, and the existence of truth is questioned to the root. Directed by Kurosawa in the early years of his career, before he was hailed as a grandmaster, it was made reluctantly by a minor Japanese studio, and the studio head so disliked it that he removed his name from the credits. It set box office records for a subtitled film. The priest follows him to the steps of the gatehouse, and the two bow to each other again. When he does not respond, she pleads for him to stop condemning her with his silence, and repeats this over and over as she approaches him with the dagger clenched in her hand.
He is too exhausted to chase her. He sees something small amongst the leaves on the ground, and goes towards it, but does not notice the corpse right in front of him until he trips over it. He grabs the samurai's sword, and she runs away. In the course of telling the commoner what they know, the woodcutter and the priest will introduce flashbacks in which the bandit, the wife and the woodcutter say what they saw, or think they saw--and then a medium turns up to channel the ghost of the dead samurai. This drives the men to fight.
In the end, on the basis of personal perspective, can there be an absolute truth? He concludes that Tajomaru must have fallen from the stolen horse. The woodcutter hangs his head in shame. The woodcutter reveals at Rashômon that he. They tell him about a murder inquiry at which they have just appeared as witnesses. Both were summoned to testify at the murder trial, the priest who ran into the samurai and his wife traveling through the forest just before the murder occurred. The film has an unusual narrative structure that reflects the impossibility of obtaining the truth about an event when there are conflicting witness accounts. They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing.
But all they reflect is a point of view, sometimes lied about. Three other people who testified at the trial are supposedly the only direct witnesses: a notorious bandit named Tajômaru, who allegedly murdered the samurai and raped his wife; the white veil cloaked wife of the samurai; and the samurai himself who testifies through the use of a medium. He retrieves his own sword, and hobbles away. The commoner observes that this is human. He is a reliable witness that he is not yet dead, but when he dies no one will know less about it than he will.
He cuts the samurai's bindings, and leaves, taking both swords. In the grove, the bandit takes the samurai's sword and runs off. In the Rashomon gatehouse, the woodcutter paces thoughtfully. The woodcutter had discovered the dead body of the samurai in the forest, and the bandit was arrested the following day. The three tell a similarly structured story - that TajÃƒÂ´maru kidnapped and bound the samurai so that he could rape the wife - but which ultimately contradict each other, the motivations and the actual killing being what differ.
The priest and the woodcutter are recounting the story of a murdered samurai whose body the woodcutter discovered three days earlier in a forest grove. It supplied first-person eyewitness accounts that differed radically--one of them coming from beyond the grave. Because we see the events in flashbacks, we assume they reflect truth. The existence of justice in this world is also questioned, and the answer is thankfully the optimistic one. Even the woodcutter has not been forthright, and ironically, he feels that he too must lie.