The camera techniques in this film are amazing. Rashomon is full of deep focus shots, and long takes. So not only do we get to see everything on screen in perfect clairvoyance, we get to watch the actors in a natural state. Another thing that is unique to this film is the use of flashbacks.
The entire movie is about two religious men and one traveler, trying to stay out of the rain, and recollecting the stories of which they heard earlier that day. Those of the murder and rape. So flashbacks are necessary to show said events. There are multiple layers to these as well. The first layer is of the trial, the second of the events in the individual POV of the ones on trial.
As the film progresses we find that every story is different. But all stories are self incriminating. We then get confused on why everyone would lie in order to get punished for something they may, or may not have done. This film truly makes you think about why people lie, even yourself.
While each does mark themselves as guilty, for some crime, with their story; Each is telling the truth too. This paradox is true of reality too. “Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves. They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing.” Even if we must lie, we have to make ourselves look good and honorable while doing so.
This film is something everyone must see, if not own. With my parting words, I must say my favorite part is the acting by Toshiro Mifune. His mocking laugh, is drunken movements, everything that is does in Rashomon is acting at it’s best. It’s no wonder why Akira Kurosawa had him appear in so many of his films.