When Akira Kurosawa made Rashomon (1950), he was a forty-year-old director working near the beginning of a career that would span 50 years, produce some of the greatest films ever made, and exert a lasting influence on filmmaking throughout the world.
Rashomon is unconventional, radical even, and when it played in Venice and went into international distribution, it stunned audiences. No one had ever seen a film quite like this one. Its daring, non-linear approach to the plot shows the details of the crime as they are related through the flashbacks of those involved. In Rashomon, we get four versions of the same series of events through the eyes of the woodcutter, the thief, the woman, and the husband's spirit, each retelling different from the other.
Kurosawa’s visionary approach would have enormous cinematic and cultural influence. Even today, when a filmmaker incorporates contradictory flashbacks or viewpoints of unreliable or multiple narrators, we call it the “Rashomon effect”.
Here are some of our favourite examples, back on the big screen where they belong:
Reservoir Dogs – There’s hardly a Tarantino film that doesn’t have an unreliable narrator, but we decided to go back to where it all began at the very start of his career and a bank heist gone wrong.
Light House: January 1 HERE
Pálás: January 4 & 6 HERE
Snake Eyes – You must watch carefully to solve the riddle of De Palma’s pulpy thriller. When the Secretary of Defence is shot during a boxing title fight, Atlantic City cop Rick Santoro (Nic Cage) discovers a conspiracy that rocks him to the core.
Light House: January 3 HERE
Pálás: January 5 & 7 HERE
Magnolia – Paul Thomas Anderson focuses less on unreliability and more on revealing connections, as he brings together random characters whose lives are all interwoven. On a single day in the San Fernando Valley, a dying father, a young wife, a male carer, a famous lost son, a police officer in love, a boy genius, an ex-boy genius, a game show host, and an estranged daughter will each become part of dazzling multiple of plots, but one story.
Light House: January 2 HERE
Pálás: January 4 & 7 HERE
Hero – Zhang Yimou’s sumptuous Wuxian follows Jet Li, a nameless mercenary who gains an audience with China’s emperor to share a tale of three famed assassins who posed a significant threats to the ruler. We hear his version of the story, only for the emperor to reinterpret events and share his hypothetical thoughts on what actually happened, before a twist in the third act pulls everything together.
Light House: January 4 HERE
Pálás: January 5 & 8 HERE
Run Lola Run - Tom Twyker's energetic Run Lola run burst onto the scene with frenetic energy and remains a cult classic. Playing with time and the butterfly effect, this high octane adventure sees Lola’s run three different times, with three different outcomes, focusing on how even the smallest details can have a huge effect: in this case, whether the love of her life, Manni, lives or dies.
Light House: January 5 HERE
Pálás: January 6 & 8 HERE
Gone Girl - David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling thriller sees Ben Affleck as a doting husband who gradually becomes suspect number one in his wife's disappearance. Wrongly accused or just plain wrong? It depends on which version of events you believe.
Light House only: January 1 HERE
You can experience Kurosawa’s original classic Rashomon in all its complex glory from Friday Jan 6th.
Light House HERE