Rashomon is a B/W film by Akira Kurosawa from 1950. It shows a story of a murder, as testified by different witnesses.

The versions of the story presented by the bandit, his wife, samurai and woodcutter differ a lot, revealing psychological profiles of each character. I find it a real exploration of the human’s moral condition of that time and space.

The space used for the action taking place in the present time is rather small, remote, in the rain. I believe it provides feeling of disconnection between it and the rest of the world. Shots are fairly long, so the viewer has a chance to analyze and focus on each character. When witnesses are testifying, the place changes to the one they describe. What I found particularly interesting in the shots taken in the wood was the use of light. Often characters would have some strong artificial lighting pointed to them to accentuate certain aspects of the image.

One kind of shot, occurring repeatedly throughout the film, showing leaves as camera is pointing in the sky, was connected to all sorts of “walking” shots. For walking there is also interesting use of tracking shots: camera is moving roughly in the same direction and similar speed as the character, but in slightly different angle, what makes the path of the character and the camera cross at some point.

There are almost no 3rd-party characters in the whole movie. When the scene involved interrogation, main characters were repeating the question as if they didn’t really hear or understand it, which was sufficient to understand what would to full dialog look like.

The child, that appears at the end of the film, beside being a vent for men’s behavior, carries a great symbolism. Whether it’s something new and pure, or brings the characters back from the story-telling to the everyday life, it is very moving.

The most important thing I took from this movie is the moral aspect. Priest, who’s losing his belief in men’s good will, at the end believes in it again, thanks to the woodcutter’s generous gesture towards the child. On the other hand, each witness is probably lying to some extend. This exposes their moral problems. It left in me a bitter feeling about all of the characters, however the woodcutter seems to be better than the others, who were involved in the story of a murder.