Rashomon ★★★★★

Quintessential classic cinema. Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon is a 19th century story spread out to four perspectives: In the woods, a bandit rapes a woman in front of her husband, and soon after, he is killed and the bandit is caught. In flashbacks, we get radically different perspectives, and even the woman’s version is dishonest and deficient. If you’re not selfish you can’t survive, a cynical observer remarks. The nonlinear story structure itself is revolutionary, leaving an influential imprint on later hallmarks like “The Killing,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Out of Sight” and “Memento,” and most blatantly imitated for “The Usual Suspects” and “Courage Under Fire.” The black & white cinematography in the forest is impeccable, and the rest of the technical work is so first-rate as well that it gets your senses immediately drawn in. What is learned is that one is willing to lie in order to maintain the specious appearance of dignity.

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