Literary Genealogy of Rashomon (Part 2)

Robert Browning composed The Ring and the Book, a long dramatic poem, based on a real-life murder trial in 17th century Rome. In 1698, Count Guido Franceschini was accused of a murder of his wife and of her parents and sentenced to death. He protested and even appealed his innocence to the Pope, who denied his plea eventually. The Ring and the Book is comprised of twelve separate books, the first and the last being the narration by a third person, presumably Browning himself. The remaining ten books are testimonies and discussions by witnesses, the accused, the lawyers and the …

Postwar Kurosawa: Seven Samurai

  Seven Samurai (七人の侍) 1954, Toho Prod. Soujiro Motoki Dir. Akira Kurosawa  Writer Shinobu Hashimoto, Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Ogunii, Cinematography  Asakazu Nakai, Music Fumio Hayasaka Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune Many consider “Seven Samurai” a landmark in filmmaking. The film coined the term “samurai” in many languages. Gradual plot element buildup, main characters as a team, realistic battle scenes, slow-motion as a punctuation in violence, multiple telephoto lens cameras to capture action simultaneously, montage to introduce main characters, etc. such many innovative elements are condensed in one, big narrative. Many call this masterpiece, others simply hate it. Some says you don’t …

Postwar Kurosawa: Rashomon

My first encounter with the film “Rashomon” was almost thirty years ago, when I was still a teenager in the local city in the western part of Japan. The story was a familiar one: “Rashomon” and “Yabu no Naka (In the Grove)”, two Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s short novels on which the film is based on, were required reading materials for high school students back then. Since I had known the story already, I was not at all surprised about the premise of the film. What I was surprised at was the familiarity of the scenery. Nightmares, a millennium ago The story …