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Rashomon (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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So, it is an old movie, often imitated. And yet, I found it fresh and involving and well worth a look. As Robert Altman says on the DVD extras, many of the camera techniques, particularly shooting directly at the sun and allowing lens flare, were taboo-breaking and radically new when this film appeared. Now, that is put in as a joke in Shrek.
So you come to Rashomon not to be overwhelmed with its "newness" and the refreshing change of first encountering Japanese cinema and acting styles. No, you come to Rashomon as to an old master, to appreciate its lasting impression of the universality of human foibles and passions and the illusory nature of truth.
A rape and murder have occured in a woods. We hear and see different versions of the same encounter. Who is telling the truth? Is there an absolute objective truth, or does every teller of the tale inherently only tell the truth as he sees it? And if everyone is a "liar" and there is no absolute truth, what is the point of anything?
Don't let the heavy questions mislead you. Rashomon moves quickly, fluidly and gracefully, telling its story with economy and, to me, humor. Much is made of the dark philosophy underneath the theme, but I find great sardonic humor in the film.Read more ›
Set in 12th Century Japan, the film's premise is at once both very simple and very complex. A man is found dead in a forrest, and several people are brought forward to give testimony in the matter. In some respects their accounts agree--but in numerous others, some obvious and some very subtle, their stories differ. As each character gives his or her version of events, the various differences pile higher and higher, leaving the viewer to wonder at the motivations involved.
Has each person simply interpreted the same facts in different ways? Do they deliberately lie in order to protect themselves? Are the differences in their stories deliberate or subconcious? The film offers no easy answers. Some have criticized the film for seeming to state that there is no such thing as ultimate truth, but RASHOMON is more complex than this: it is essentially a meditation on our inability, be it deliberate or unintentional, to reach more than an approximation of ultimate truth due to the very nature of humanity itself.
Much has been written about the look of the film, which is indeed memorable. Filmed by Kazuo Miyagawa, it presents the forrest as a living, breathing entity; the images are powerful, the editing remarkable.Read more ›
|Length: 0:27 Mins|
Criterion's 2012 Region-A Blu-ray of RASHOMON is the result of a 2008 digital restoration of the 1951 Japanese classic. The original negative of the film was destroyed in the 1970s. The next best surviving material is a 1962 35mm print, which was used for this restoration. The print was digitally scanned at 4K resolution in 2008, followed by a frame-by-frame digital cleanup. The result, as presented on the 2012 Blu-ray and its corresponding DVD, is an improvement in terms of better-looking black and white level, less flickering, a little more picture on all four sides of the screen (about 30 pixels more on the left and right sides, and less on top and bottom), and, of course, more details on the high-def picture on the Blu-ray. The cleanup of the blemishes and scratches yielded a very nice picture, but then the old 2002 Criterion DVD looks pretty clean already. One major improvement from the old DVD to the new Blu-ray/DVD is the audio. As I wrote in my original review, the 2002 DVD sounds very hissy. The 2012 Blu-ray/DVD, however, has that remedied big time. I uploaded a video clip comparison (see comment section for the link) so you may listen for yourself. The new editions have very little hiss. But the underlying audio is still showing its age. Dialogs are still not the crispest, even though a high bit-rate LPCM 1.0 is used.
The 2012 Blu-ray & DVD include all the old bonus features, and a booklet with all the essays found on the 2002 DVD. On the Blu-ray, all the video extras are presented in hi-def 1080i picture, even though the source material seems to be originally in standard-def (hence, upconversion).
Two new bonuses are on the 2012 Blu-ray/DVD.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
one of the greats, i've seen it many times, and will watch it many times more.Published 14 days ago by T. Jackson
Niot only one of the best Japanese motion pictures but one of the best motion pictures period. A must see' for anyone interested in film.Published 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
See title of review. Stands the test of time. All the vogue movies of separate lives/stories intersecting are derivative of this film. Read morePublished 3 months ago by John Williams
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