Essay on No Film Toys With Viewers By Akira Kurosawa 's 1958 Film

1302 Words Sep 15th, 2016 6 Pages
It is commonly understood that we accept that which we are comfortable with. We are comfortable with our families, so we trust them. We are comfortable with our friends, so we trust them. But how do we determine trustworthiness in those we do not know at all? Trust, in such cases, is often built through finding commonalities between ourselves and others, or by simply forming a generally positive perception of an individual. Film most clearly illustrates this principle. When we peer into a text’s diegetic environment, we immediately form opinions on its inhabitants. These opinions are crafted, however, not just in relation to the characters of a film, but in relation to the film as a whole, and how said film works with or against our expectations. No film toys with viewers’ expectations more than Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film Rashomon. Kurosawa refuses to meet the expectations of his viewers, constantly shifting from genre to genre in crafting his narrative. Each of these genres, of course, come with their own preconceived notions of what they might be and how they might portray Rashomon’s story. And while each genre gives the viewer an opportunity to find comfort and build trust with that particular portion of the text, Kurosawa more generally highlights the futility of discerning truth. While each particular genre Kurosawa employs does its job in hinting at the possibility of truth, it is the contrast between those genres that reveals the impossibility of a single truth ever…

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