Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rashomon

Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1954, bw (8.7*)
Famous and often-copied bw classic by Japan's best filmmaker examines a crime from various points of view: from the criminal's, the victim's, the victim's spouse, and an angel present at the time. Of course, no two versions of the crime are exactly alike, which is the point of the film, that our own mindset and point of perspective make objectivity nearly impossible, that the world is shades of gray filtered by our own ego and the mind's preconceptions, making an accurate recollection of 'reality' highly improbable. Maybe the world isn't exactly what you perceive it to be, but what we do perceive is altered by our minds.

This is one of Akira Kurosawa's best films, who often based his films on Shakespeare, like Throne of Blood, based on Macbeth. If you aren't familiar with his work, this is a good beginning film. It may be a bit slow for western audiences, as most of his films slowly evolve rather than rush through the story, but it will reveal artistic rewards for discerning film fans. A classic of his with more action is The Seven Samurai, generally considered one of the best films ever made, and one that is always in my top 10 all time.

A recent film which used this technique is Vantage Point, a 2008 political thriller about the shooting of a U.S. president in a foreign country, which examined the plot from about 10 characters until the entire story was revealed.

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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