Akutagawa’s “In a Grove” (1922) was originally written into the script by Hashimoto, but the script was too short for a feature-length film and, once Kurosawa had read Hashimoto’s draft, the two resolved to expand the story by combining it with another Akutagawa tale, “Rashomon” (1914).Though Hashimoto became ill and could not contribute to the rewrite, Kurosawa proceeded on his own and finished the final shooting script.Both men lament a disturbing series of events they’ve experienced; they tell the peasant that they’ve just come from court, where they testified against a bandit over the murder of a samurai and the rape of his wife.
Reluctantly, the men duel and the samurai is killed, but the wife and bandit each run their separate ways in terror.
At the Kyoto gate, none of the men can grasp what any of it means; however, the woodcutter’s admitted presence at the scene brings into question whether or not he stole the dagger from the samurai’s body, perhaps to sell it for a hefty profit.
But in court the priest and woodcutter heard the varying testimonies of the violated wife (Machiko Kyo); the bandit Tajomaru (Toshiro Mifune) who was accused of murder and rape; and even the murdered samurai (Masayuki Mori) by way of a medium (Noriko Honma).
Each testimony differs with just two facts among them constant: a rape and death have occurred.
Even today, its success remains something of an oddity, a film that posits how no objective truth exists in the real world.
Even further, sprung from Shinobu Hashimoto, a screenwriter versed in primarily original stories.He claims to have seen the bandit pleading with the woman to run away with him after the rape.In the woodcutter’s version, the wife responds with indecision, and then demands that the two men duel for her hand.After three testimonies and three incompatible versions of the same story are relayed to the peasant by the priest and woodcutter, there’s yet another hint of doubt.The woodcutter admits his own court testimony was false, and that he witnessed the entire scene.On the whole, Kurosawa’s views were far less misanthropic than Akutagawa’s stories; Kurosawa’s films acknowledge the lowest lows of human despair in films such as , Kurosawa injects Akutagawa’s otherwise bleak scenario with optimism, introducing an abandoned baby in the final scenes—a symbol of humanity’s vulnerability and, as a kind-hearted Samaritan picks up the child to bring it home and make it part of his family, a sign of humankind’s good intentions.Under a ruined gate outside Kyoto during a time of civil war, a cynical peasant (Kichijiro Ueda) takes refuge from the rain and finds a priest (Minoru Chiaki) and woodcutter (Takashi Shimura).four testimonies are relayed by two narrators to one listener, who provides a surrogate for the cinematic audience.Rather than getting one reliable story, which most film-goers in the mid-twentieth century expected from feature films, 's viewers instead get a frame narrative built around an unstable system of stories, which acquire significance as something like a variable myth cycle rather than as a mutually determined series of events., Akira Kurosawa’s philosophical tale whose enduring influence can be measured both by the spread of Japanese cinema across the globe and its impact on modern storytelling.Expounded through an unconventional structure in which the same events have contradictory interpretations by its participants, the film takes the shape of an existential puzzle without an answer, employing unreliable narrators and flashbacks through which memory and truth become suspect.