the last jedi rashomon

(Welcome to The Movies That Made Star Wars, a series where we explore the films that inspired George Lucas’ iconic universe. In this edition: Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon.)

1950’s Rashomon was the first international breakout hit for legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. He’d made wonderful films prior to that, from the tense post-war poverty of Drunken Angel to the noir classic Stray Dog, but Rashomon put him on the international map, winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Like Citizen Kane before it, the film revealed what was possible within the medium.

Starring Toshiro Mifune (who turned down the roles of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in the original Star Wars) and Takashi Shimura, among others, Rashomon tells the story of a rape and murder over and over again from the perspective of several witnesses. The conceit is that the story changes every time it is told – everyone is convinced that they themselves are the guilty party.

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This is a story I’d just like to ignore, in the hopes that pretending it isn’t happening will decrease the chances of any sale actually going down. But it is already all over the place, so might as well stare it right in the face. A new-ish company called Splendent Media is now repping the remake rights for dozens of Akira Kurosawa films. The company holds sixty-nine titles all told: 26 are films Kurosawa directed; 24 are films he wrote; and 19 are scripts he penned that were never produced.

That last point is somewhat tantalizing in the same way that unproduced Stanley Kubrick screenplays represent a vague sense of possibility. But who am I kidding? If we get… let’s be generous and say two films out of this that don’t suck, I think we’ll be beating the odds. Details below. Read More »