Rashad is about a court proceeding, recalled in flashback, relating to a mysterious crime. A bandit, Tajômaru (Toshirô Mifune) is on trial for murdering a samurai (Mayasuki Mori) and raping his wife (Machiko Kyô) in the remote forest. Each of these three figures addresses the court, the dead man via a medium – an amazingly, electrifyingly strange conceit, carried off with absolute conviction. A fourth witness (Takashi Shimura) offers his own version, again different. But it is not just a matter of the witnesses being slippery: crucially, the bandit, the samurai and the samurai’s wife each claim to have committed the murderous act themselves, the samurai by suicide. Truth, history, memory and the past … are these just fictions?
One character is told that lying is natural for all of us, and it is in the discrepancies that the essence of our humanity resides. Kurosawa invests the unknowability of the event with horror, suggesting that the three of them somehow chanced upon, or created, a black hole in human thought and communication, whose confusion and violence can never be clearly explained or remembered, as in the Marabar caves in A Passage to India with their endless echoing “Bo-oum”. Unmissable.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Best Director Best Foreign Film National Board of Review
Best Screenplay Blue Ribbon Awards
Golden Lion Italian Film Critics Award Venice
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