Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pittsburgh Taiko and Rashomon at Row House Cinema, July 25.


Pittsburgh Taiko, a local Japanese drumming group, will perform at the Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville on July 25 before the evening's showing of the 1950 Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon. The performance begins at 7:15 pm. Tickets are $9, and more information is available at the event's Facebook page.

A synopsis of the film, from a 2002 Roger Ebert review:
The film opens in torrential rain, and five shots move from long shot to closeup to reveal two men sitting in the shelter of Kyoto's Rashomon Gate. The rain will be a useful device, unmistakably setting apart the present from the past. The two men are a priest and a woodcutter, and when a commoner runs in out of the rain and engages them in conversation, he learns that a samurai has been murdered and his wife raped and a local bandit is suspected. In the course of telling the commoner what they know, the woodcutter and the priest will introduce flashbacks in which the bandit, the wife and the woodcutter say what they saw, or think they saw--and then a medium turns up to channel the ghost of the dead samurai. Although the stories are in radical disagreement, it is unlike any of the original participants are lying for their own advantage, since each claims to be the murderer.
And a 1951 New York Times review writes:
Much of the power of the picture—and it unquestionably has hypnotic power—derives from the brilliance with which the camera of director Akira Kurosawa has been used. The photography is excellent and the flow of images is expressive beyond words. Likewise the use of music and of incidental sounds is superb, and the acting of all the performers is aptly provocative.
Row House Cinema is showing four classic Akira Kurosawa films from July 24 through July 30 in a film series dedicated to the director. 1961's Yojimbo (用心棒), 1949's Stray Dog (野良犬), 1958's The Hidden Fortress (隠し砦の三悪人), and Rashomon (羅生門). A schedule and ticket information are available on the theater's website. The theater is located at 4115 Butler St. (map).