An innovative murder mystery that explores the subjective nature of truth. Toshiro Mifune plays a bandit accused of murdering a samurai and raping his wife – but what actually happened?

The West was almost entirely ignorant of Japanese cinema before Rashomon screened at Venice in 1951 and won the Golden Lion. Essentially a story about the subjective nature of truth, the film is set in the 11th Century. The source lies in two short stories, ‘Rashomon’ and ‘In the Grove’, written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, who died in 1927; he has been compared to Edgar Allan Poe. In a dark forest, a woman is raped and her husband, a samurai, is murdered by a bandit. Four versions of the story unfold, each point of view offering a different perspective, a different ‘reality’. Through a medium, the dead samurai claims he killed himself, unable to live with dishonour. The bandit insists the sex was consensual and that he killed the samurai in a duel.

The film is notable for its adventurous photography, its innovative employment of light and shade, and for the skilled direction of the actors, notably the startlingly physical performance by Toshiro Mifune as the bandit accused of the crimes. Kurosawa had already made a dozen films prior to this extraordinary breakthrough and he deliberately set out to recreate the look and atmosphere of silent cinema.

- David Stratton

Please note, this screening will be of a digitally restored version of the film, and will be screened at Dendy Opera Quays cinema.  

A special discount package of all ten films in the retrospective is available for $130 + booking fee. Click here to book the Essential Kurosawa: Selected by David Stratton package.

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Passes eligible for this session: Flexipass 10, Flexipass 20, Flexipass 30, Flexipass 10 Comp, Flexipass 20 Comp, Flexipass 30 Comp, Flexipass 6 Comp, Admit 1, Powershop Flexi 6, Youth Pass 6, Guest Flexipass 10, Guest Flexipass 20, Guest Flexipass 30, Media Flexipass 4, Media Flexipass 6, Media Flexipass 10
Ferve Tickets

Akira Kurosawa


88 mins

Japanese with English subtitles




Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto

Jingo Minoura

Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori

Rights/DCP Source: Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.
© 1950 Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.