Rashomon (Kurosowa, 1951) & Villain (Sang-il, 2010): Riverside Studios, 6.30 & 8.25pm
Another clever double-bill from the folk at Riverside Studios.
Chicago Reader review of Rashomon:
'Akira Kurosawa's 1951 film won the grand prize at the Venice film festival, introducing Kurosawa (and through him the Japanese film) to most of the Western world. Set mainly in 12th-century Kyoto, the film, based on a short story by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, offers the radically different eyewitness accounts of four people (including a dead man) about a violent incident involving ambush, rape, and murder in a forest. The philosophically subversive premise of the story, at least by implication, is that all four narrators are telling the truth; Kurosawa's much more sentimental conclusion, made even worse by a hokey finale, is that everyone lies. This serious limitation aside, the film is still an impressive piece of work, visually and rhythmically masterful. With Toshiro Mifune (as the bandit) and Machiko Kyo.'
Here is the trailer.
Time Out review of Villain:
'Garlanded with awards at Japan’s Academy Awards, ‘Villain’ offers a bleak and rounded, if ultimately conservative, take on a criminal act and its impact on those involved. Following the death of a young woman, police pursue her links to both a humble construction worker (Satoshi Tsumabuki, pictured right) who lives with his grandmother (Kirin Kiki) and a gauche, wealthy dilettante (Masaki Okada); meanwhile, the victim’s father (Akira Emoto) struggles to keep his world from falling apart. Based on a popular novel by Shuichi Yoshida, Lee Sang-il’s picture depicts a generation characterised by loneliness and selfish urges amid a landscape of flash cars, online dating and love hotels, their better instincts only occasionally emerging through a pricked conscience or the example of elders. The performances and photography are robust and the film does a decent job of humanising those involved, up to a point. But the characterisation is two-dimensional, the storytelling is spotty – a major plot point requires preposterously lax policing – and the relentlessly glum tone proves draining over 140 minutes.' Ben Walters
Here is the trailer.