Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rashomon (Japan: Akira Kurosawa, 1950)

(A related anecdote: Last week when my heat went out I had a serviceman come to my house to fix my furnace and he was doing some work in my movie room--yeah, I'm a geek--where I have my collection of films shelved. That night when I went to pull Rashomon from the shelf to do some work preparing for teaching the film, I noticed it was missing. I had seen it there the day before when I was doing film studies and I could only come to the conclusion that out of all the films on my shelf the worker had decided to take Rashomon. At first I was mad, but then I wondered perhaps this would be a transformative text that might work some magic in his life. I began to reflect on the the transformative effect of the loaned Rashomon text in Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. Why should I begrudge this worker his purloined pleasure... I didn't complain to his company and my only hope is that he finds something of value in his new film. Besides, the heat is working again, better than before, I kind of feel it was a good trade ;)

Our library has a copy of Rashomon on reserve at the circulation desk--it is in the ENG 282 section. If you are interested in learning more about the film I would recommend checking out the extras on this criterion edition of the film.

Rashomon (Japan: Akira Kurosawa, 1950)

Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves. They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing. This script portrays such human beings—the kind who cannot survive without lies to make them feel they are better people than they really are. Egoism is a sin the human being carries with him from birth; it is the most difficult to redeem . . . .

--Akira Kurosawa, Something Like an Autobiography

Criterion Collection: Rashomon

Great Directors: Akira Kurosawa (Senses of Cinema)

Clips/Trailers (Google Video)

Japanese film scholar Donald Ritchie's edited collection on Rashomon (Google Books)

Iris Mann: A Kurosawa Celebration, From Many Angles (NPR)

Stephen Prince: Rashomon (Criterion)

Akira Kurosawa on Rashomon

Alexander Sesonske: Rashomon (Criterion)

Roger Ebert: Rashomon (Chicago Sun Times)

The Story that inspired the Film (Google Books)

Donald Ritchie: The Films of Akira Kurosawa

Film Reference: Rashomon Bibliography and Filmography

Akira Kurosawa Clips (Google Video)

British Film Institute: Akira Kurosawa

Great Performances: Akira Kurosawa (Archive of Clips and Texts) (PBS)

Strictly Film School: Akira Kurosawa's Films

Akira Kurosawa: News, Discussion, Community

Kurosawa Biography (Books and Writers)

Gary Morris: Three of Kurosawa's scathing critiques of Japanese society past and present — in beautiful new video transfers (Bright Lights Film Journal)

Akira Kurosawa Foundation

Usagi Johnson: The History of Japanese Cinema (Associated Content)

Kinema Club: Researching Japanese Cinema

Tomohisa Inano: Research on Japanese Cinema

Yoko Ono: History of Japanese Cinema (Japan Cultural Profile)

Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto: Kurosawa and Japanese Film Studies (Google Books)

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