I watched this film first time and for me it’s quite difficult to write about this Akira Kurosawa’s touchstone. There are two reasons behind it. One, there are so many layers in the plot and second, it’s full of fine symbolic philosophical value. It’s again a film which one has to watch at least twice to absorb its profound symbolism on human absurdity.
On a stormy rainy night three men told their own version of a ghastly murder. It’s confusing for the audience to rectify the real truth behind any of their story because it contradicts completely. There’s also the intriguing versions of a bandit, the murdered husband and his wife who was raped by the bandit. Kurosawa left the viewers to determine the truth on their own way without giving any clue. He had kept the intriguing part intact with different perspectives and it’s hard to judge the truth. Personally I think it’s climax and beautiful ending which made the film a learning lesson for humanity when the third man proclaims the universal truth that “All men are selfish”. Hearing the lines the priest lost his faith in humanity and than comes the most beautiful full stop of Kurosawa- the revelation of the woodcutter of having six children at home, which regained the ‘Hope of Humanity’ inside the heart of not only the priest but we the viewers too.
Kurosawa was artist pure to its salt. With minimalist and natural setting he made a film which remained bridging example between silent and modern era of cinematic art. The Black and White cinematography of Kazuo Miyagawa must retain syllabus course status for all camera men. The use of natural light, contrasting shots and extreme close ups are just original and innovative. It’s injustice for Kurosawa film if I forget the inseparable part of almost any Kurosawa classic. Toshiro Mifune was the best gift and wonderful discovery that Kurosawa had given to world of cinema.
The film had won so many awards including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and also received an Academy Honorary Award at the 25th Academy Awards. Like so many of other Kurosawa films, this film also has a strong influence on many notable films of Hollywood as well as world cinema.