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Transcript of Rashomon
-Cuts to show the other characters' reactions
- The husband is in shadow
- The wife is clinging to animalistic Tojomaru, which represents her return to nature and the mindset of self-preservation
Text (In a Grove)
Cailan St. Martin
- This screenshot is taken is during the murdered man's testimony
- After abandoning her husband, the wife is urging Tojomaru to kill him, in order to preserve her honor
Unlike the film, which can use lighting, sound, and camerawork to portray the feelings of all the characters, a short story only has text to work with.
"meanwhile I winked at her many times, as much as to say 'Don't believe the robber.'" (pg. 11)
- The husband still trusts his wife
- This helps us understand the devastation he will soon feel at her betrayal
"Kill him! I cannot marry you as long as he lives." (pg. 12)
-All she cares about is her honor
-She is willing to have her husband killed, as long as it benefits her
- The film and the text work together to help us visualize the theme
- Film uses music, lighting, and camerawork
- Text uses vivid descriptions and character development
- By analyzing them together, we are able to see how the wife's actions affect the other characters, which helps us better understand the theme
Relation to Theme
- Extreme close up
- Eye level, 3/4 profile
- The lighting emphasizes how tightly her hands are gripped around Tojomaru's shoulder
- The wife is cowering behind Tojomaru
- There is clear contempt in her eyes, and her gaze is fixed on her husband
- Her hands are clenched around Tojomaru
The traveler takes blankets form the baby
Very unremarkable shot - no music is playing, the lighting is dark, the camera is stationary.
A full shot is used to show him taking the blankets.
This segment is shot over his shoulder to show the baby
The straight-on angle puts us at the same level as the traveler
- Throughout the film and text, Tojomaru is described as animalistic
- In this scene, the wife is clutching onto Tojomaru
- By abandoning her husband for this bandit, she is proving how her honor is more important to her than her supposed "loved ones"
Cheshire, David. "Elements of Cinematography." Accad.osu.edu. N.p., 22 Oct. 2003. Web. 18 Dec. 2013.
Geddes, Gary. "In a Grove." The Art of Short Fiction. Brief ed. Toronto: Addison-Wesley, 1999. 7-12. Print.
"The Language of Film Analysis." The Language of Film Analysis. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2013.
Rashomon. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. Perf. Toshiro Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyō, and Takashi Shimura. RKO Radio Pictures, 1951.
The traveler has no problem with putting morals aside for his own good. He grasps an opportunity that benefits only himself and takes the blankets from the baby, who clearly is more fragile than him and needs the blankets more. He does this so he can stay warm, even though it means the baby will suffer far more than he would. This fits with the theme of making selfish decisions that will result in self preservation
Humans are ultimately selfish and will generally make decisions that result in self-preservation
"these words threaten to blow me headlong into the bottomless abyss of darkness. Has such a hateful thing come out of a human mouth ever before?" (pg. 12)
- The husband is shocked at the wife's words
- Helps us understand the extent of her selfishness
Shortly after the Traveler take the clothes, he says to the wood-cutter
"Dogs are better off in this world.
If you're not selfish, you can't survive"
-Three characters are in triangle, all facing off
-Bandit has brought the woman here to see her husbands defeat and humiliation
In a Grove Text:
-The book has a lot bigger of a prelude to the actual scene in the grove
-There was a lot of focus in the movie on the emotions of the characters, portrayed through facial expressions
-Similarity is that Bandit is going to great lengths to humiliate husband
In the short story, the author describes the thought process the servant is having.
"If he chose honest means, he would undoubtedly starve to death beside a wall or in a Sujaku gutter. He would be brought to this gate and thrown away like a stray dog. If he decided to steal . . . His mind after making the same detour time and again, came finally to the conclusion that he must become a thief"
-Repetition of the words "please kill him"
"Indeed, making wigs out of the hair of the dead may seem a great evil to you, but these that are here deserve no better. This woman, whose beautiful black hair I was pulling, used to sell cut and dried snake flesh at the guard barracks, saying that it was dried fish. If she hadn't died of the plague, she'd be selling it now. The guards liked to buy from her, and used to say her fish was tasty. What she did couldn't be wrong, because if she hadn't, she would have starved to death. There was no other choice. If she knew I had to do this in order to live, she probably wouldn't care."
The servent thinks about this and then says
“are you sure”
"Then it's right if I rob you. I'd starve if I didn't."
Book vs Movie
both have the same setting
-Both men are looking to the wife, to see who she will choose
-The wife is looking to her husband:
-Is she looking at him for
guidance; with respect? or...
-Is she looking at him with disdain; does not love him after his humiliation
-Looking through shrubbery, obscured
-is this metaphor for her emotions? Or perhaps the situation?
-looking through bushes gives the impression of not actually being external to the scene
-Relatable to looking at a scene through a tv
-Husband is facing away from camera, can't see his face and, in turn, emotion
-in the beginning bandit seems almost embarassed at what he has done, realized it was cruel
-willing to take away the samurais honor, which means everything to him, for the woman
-Puts his life on the line, first against the woman and then against the man for his own lust/ greed for the woman
-lots of close up shots, showing emotion
-bandit is flip flopping between amusement and anger/lust
-woman goes from absolute rage to infatuation
-the samurai stays consistently enraged but contained
-sun is always flitting across their bodies, perhaps showing the conflicting emotions of the scene: shadow and light
-husband is silent through out scene, lets his wife make the decision to go with greed stricken bandit or resolute samurai
In “Rashamon” and in “In a grove” a recurring tendency is that characters in this early-modern Japanese setting, in which honour was a prominent part of culture, disregard their morals to better their personal situations.
Masago, the wife of the Takehiro the samurai, exhibits behaviour of this nature multiple times.
In this scene , Masago is describing the incident to the police commissioner.
She is pleading her case but doing so in a fashion that does not advocate for what she is saying
She does not appear to be grieving for her husband but begging for pardon.
In this scene the woman is using her attractiveness to men around her to manipulate the situation in her favour.
She speaks of how Tojomaru raped her and left. She then says that her husband looked at her with an “indescribable [cold] light” in his eyes that caused her to faint with a dagger in her hand, followed by her regaining consciousness and finding her dead and trying to commit suicide.
Her story, while improbable and contradictory to Tojomaru’s, causes her to sound like a complete victim and maintaining of her honour.
In the testimonies of Tojumaru and the dead samurai told through a medium, long conversations between Masago and tojumaru are included, but not in hers. Coincidence? i think not
"In a Grove" text
The woman is in a seductive pose in the front of the court
It is a full shot of the woman with the woodcutter and priest sitting behind her, listening
She has a desperate look on her face as she lies in the shade while being watched by the other two in the sunlight in the back of the shot.
"Rashamon" the film
What she is saying and her body language tell two different stories. The testimony she gives is clearly in attempt to hide any shameful act she committed while she ironically sits in a shameful position to try to gain favour with the commissioner.
In both the short story and the film, Masago describes a veryvictimized version of the story.
The story uses more descriptive language and and detailed imagery of how Masago was receiving this ordeal.
The film gives us an actual perspective to watch the characters, which subsequently removes us more from the mind of the characters.
While Masago uses the same tactics of pity and sympathy, she speaks of "[her] heart breaking" and vivid descriptions of her husbands discontent with her in the story. We can see her weeping and disgracing herself in the film.
The film conveys more obvious tones and connection to theme.
The characters in "Rashamon", "Rashamon" and "In a Grove", all have a different perspectives and respective views on moral stature one should maintain. However, when thier reputation or life is at stake, it becomes too tempting for anyone to stay true to themselves and accept consequences for poor decisions they have made.