Compare and Contrast: “In a Grove” and “Rashomon”
Basing it on Ryounsuke Akutawa’s two short stories, AkiraKurosawa’s “Rashomon” is loosely based. Basing it on the short“Rashomon”, the opening of the film and its ending is where it isbased however, the film’s main story is based on the novel “Inthe Grove”. Basically, there are always contrasting differencesbetween the short story “In a Grove” and the film the “Rashomon”,just like other novels or books that eventually resulted to films. InAkira Kurosawa’s case, the film is an individual’sinterpretation.
Contrast and Comparison
Kurosawa’s film “Rashomon” marked the beginning of anera in the sense that the film awakened international audience in theheritage of Japanese film production tradition. Kurosawa’sadaptation has been written in a great deal in the two stories: the“Rashomon” and “In the Grove” one can hardly manage tomention his achievement without considering the touch that bringsadaptation in these two works (Richie, 210).
In the short story “In a Grove,” the author invest the Rashomongate with different multiple meanings. By way of gate, the dismissedservant leaves throughout of his master’s house – a symbol thathighlights the life of law abiding citizens. In contrast, theRashomon gate that was once a glorious entrance to the south throughthe capital, reveal to be degraded that serves as a hideout of pettycriminals and thieves. The same unclaimed place is also abandoned.The Rashomon gate has become a world in itself, which is a microcosmrepresents the religious, political, or moral chaos that prevailed inthe 21st century in Japan (Richie, 211).
Again, the gate also represents the boundary between the worlds: oneentrance from one level that exists to another. Waiting for a break,the servant must decide what she will do with her life. Will sheemerge out of the gate morally corrupt or intact? That serves acentral question that is posed by Akutagawa. The author reveals theman that passes through a series of conflict morally. By the time theman vanishes in to the night, his descents complete into the bestial(Sorensen, 45).
The”Rashomon” film manages to retain the original symbolicfunctions of the gate however, he enriches the film with acontemporary comparison – coupled with the chaos of Japan’s postwar. The author’s ruined gate, just like the flawed servant’scomplexion, which speaks for a deformed beyond redemption. The authorinsists on a ray of hope, although it ironically signified means of asignboard and gargoyle that remained intact in blinding rain. Theauthor is a moralist whose premises of a fragmented, tortured worldleading to questions that demands a committed inquiry.
In tradition sense, the short story “In a Grove” is not regardedas a story. It is known to be more of a trail that involves the rapeof a woman and murder of a man. Every arties and witnesses, withsomehow different stories, testimonies are given of what had happenedand seen. The story ends without any resolved verdict of the murderedman. In the film, and the expending story, however, the author hastaken liberties, which has establish a straightforward rise,beginning, fall, climax and the end. The film “Rashomon” wouldhave lasted for fifteen minutes if the author had made it verbatim.
“In a Grove” and “the Rashomon” Character Analysis
Characters in “In a Grove” are the Rashomon Woodcutter, PriestPoliceman, Old woman, bandit woman, murdered man, the WoodcutterCommoner’s wife, Samurai. All the characters in the story allpossess a solo narrative. All these simply testify the high PoliceCommissioner. Between the characters, there is no interaction betweenthe characters. Harrison (91) contrasts that the screenwriters forthe film use dialogue for the entire production. The film’sdialogue commence with woodcutter halfway talking to him, while he ishalf-addressing the commoners, whom have just arrived in the ruins toavoid the rain. Such changes are made since dialogue is important toa movie.
On the other hand, the “In a Grove” characters are merely flatand are one-dimensional. It is only the old woman who is given anyemotions. Detailed emotions are given to inanimate objects such asthe rope found at the foot of the cedar tree, or the woman’sdescription and her horse, which is often given to involved people.By maintaining the simplicity of the characters, and asmatter-of-fact, the author ensures that the reader is pays attentionto their words. All this adds up to the aura of ambiguity (Geiger &Rutsky, 101). In the movie, in contrast, the characters are verydynamic and animated. It is therefore up to them to tell the story ofhad occurred in the grove. The author directs the actor over thepretense. The bandit is played in particular for the effect. Theauthor is in turn subdued and manic, confused and amused.
In this case, the mood in the “Ramoshon” film is enhanced bycinematography. All the scenes that convey a number of stories occurin a sprawling forest. This is a place where man and the truth canmiss their way. Subsequently, the forest can be said to block out thelight. In addition, the sunlight in the film is dappled from theleafy canopy, since the characters are at times shown in the shadowsand in the light. None of these characters, not even the bandit,therefore are seen as totally noble or completely evil. While thethree men discusses what had occurred, these scenes that are shot ata very dilapidated gate in the middle of a torrential rainstorm(Harrison, 142). The commoner or the stranger comes in and out of therain, which suggests that he is washed from any illusions in regardto human nature. The commoner pragmatism and cynicism are shown sincehe is the only person out of three that bothers to light a fire. Theauthor sets despondency mood that is not clear in the plot. Finally,the author uses the “triangulation shot” to immense advantage. Alot of scenes include Samurai close-up shots, the Bandit and the Wifeby increasing the tension. In this scenario, triangulation is used toin between the Commoner, the Woodcutter, and the priest.
According to Richie (89), the major theme of both the film and theshort story is the study of the distortion of the truth. Thecity-dwellers say that “human beings cannot tell the truth tothemselves”. At one point, the priest says that “since the menare weak, they deceive to lie themselves”. In regard to the shortstory, people lie so as to bolster their egos. Even though hedefeated the Samurai, the Bandit tells that it was a glorious battle(Sorensen, 219). Samurai remains the only character that crossedswords with the Commoner 23 times. The Wife on the other hand liesthat forces her to turn into a enabling her remain a weak character.The priest also distorted visions of what is evil and what is good.In this case, all the characters are motivated by self-deception andself-interest (Richie, 119).
In conclusion, while “In a Grove” story goes true a lot deeper.The author in this case uses a number of narrators to revealdistortion of the truth. The author emphases the idea by usingdistorted lighting and contradicting flashbacks. The modern scholarshave coined the term “the Ramoshon effect” to describecontradicting versions of the truthful story (Geiger & Rutsky,123).
Geiger, Jeffrey, & Rutsky R. L. Film Analysis: A NortonReader. , 2013. Print.
Harrison, Stephanie. Adaptations: From Short Story to Big Screen :35 Great Stories That Have Inspired Great Films. New York: ThreeRivers Press, 2005. Print.
Richie, Donald. The Films of Akira Kurosawa. Berkeley, Calif:University of California Press, 1996. Print.
Sorensen, Lars-Martin. Censorship of Japanese Films During theU.s. Occupation of Japan: The Cases of Yasujiro Ozu and AkiraKurosawa. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2009. Print.