September 23, 2008

Hollywood is remaking 'Rashomon'......

A Rashomon remake is in the works....

In the pantheon of film buffery (is that a word?) Rashomon takes on a singular significance. Akira Kurosawa's 1950 back and white movie about a murder trial in feudal Japan has been credited with inspiring dozens of other movies. Brian Singer's "The Usual Suspects" is very heavily influenced by it, The Simpsons have parodied it and it was even remade as a cartoon in 2005's "Hoodwinked".

The film basically shows the same story (A rape and murder in the woods) being replayed from three different perspectives - one of which is the murder victim's (via a medium). None of them is totally accurate and none of them is totally wrong. It plays on the ability of people to remember and see what they want to see. As one reviewer said 'People forget the unpleasant things. They only remember what they want to remember'.

The Rashomon effect is thus defined as any retelling of a story from a different characters perspective, and now - in the ultimate Rashomon effect - Hollywood is remaking Kurosawa's movie from their point of view.

"Rashomon 2010" will move from ancient Japan to contemporary America, where a court must decide the facts about the rape of a woman and the murder of her husband.

I'm not sure what to think about this, and I'm hoping regular reader Algo will chime in with his opinion, but Hollywood remaking this could either be a really, really good idea, or a really, really BAD idea. In the hands of someone like Darren Aronofsky or Frank Darabont or even Timur Bekmambetov this could be worth watching, Add in a couple of good actors - Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Samuel L Jackson, Christian Bale - and you might have a decent remake. But give it to McG, Brett Ratner or Paul W.S. Anderson with, say, John Travolta, Michelle Rodriquez and Eric Roberts and it's a recipe for disaster.

The original Rashomon is good for many reasons - not least of which are the acting, the cinematography and the direction.

At least that's how I remember it.

Photo Courtesy bavatuesdays

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  1. THis reminds me somewhat of the "remake" of The Italian Job, the specific plot of which bears no relation to the original, apart from there is a heist. On that basis Ocean's 11 is a remake of The Italian Job as well, as is lame duck Jason Statham vehicle The Bank Job.

    One film you missed in your summary was Hero, which is probably a more accurately spiritual successor to Rashomon. It concerns various versions of a warriors defeat of three enemies and is beautifully made, to boot.

    Thing is, the technique of multiple viewpoints is now part of everyday cinema (it was even in Atonement) and simply making a film about a rape, showing multiple viewpoints and calling it a sequel or remake seems a little cynical.

    As you say, it may be good, but this is by far the least likely outcome in my opinion.

    Oh, and I take issue with your invocation of The Usual Suspects - the events shown in that film only takes place from ONE viewpoint, not many. The genius of the film is whose it is!


  2. I actually saw this movie in an Art class in college. i loved it! It's funny how all versions show the masculine nature of the "Samurai's" until the farmer/woodsman comes forward with the "true" version. Goes to show there's always more than one version to a story, but who to believe?