1950 saw the release of two films by Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. The first Scandal has largely remained an obscurity in Kurosawa’s filmography, far overshadowed by the second film of the year Rashomon. The latter introduced western audiences to a new world of Japanese cinema when it scooped the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 1951. Kurosawa was soon heralded as an artistic genius and feted by art cinema enthusiasts eager for something outside their experiential world. The historical films of Kurosawa often betray their indebtedness to Hollywood, Rashomon however is the most atypical of his historical adventures in its attitude to point of view and subjectivity, which perhaps accounts for its art circuit success. Personally I have always found Kurosawa’s contemporary set social dramas to be more interesting, and as a representation of the complexities, anxieties, and dilemma’s of a Japan occupied by a foreign force Scandal emerges as a more important film than Rashomon from a socio/historical point of view.
© Shaun Anderson 2010