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"Rashomon"by Akira Kurosawa

In the shot of a film, the character is also seen in movement; from speech and interaction with other characters we can make many more judgments about that person's social situation. There is a whole system at work of mutual and reciprocal expressions and recognition. Finally, as was noted earlier, narrative dominates and limits meaning so that we most frequently read a shot in terms of the story, which is what Barthes meant when he said that consumers (vs. creators) of texts end up receiving the same message (Lesage, 1985, p. 487).

In a given film, the system of symbology may be highly idiosyncratic; no single meaning can be predicted, and if it could all the critics might as well go home. What is consistent from film to film is not the content of a specific semic code but the fact that these codes may in their idiosyncratic ways convey narrative content. This is the meaning of Wollen's remark that Metz considered that "cinema is indeed a language, but a language without a code (without a langue, to use Saussure's term). . . . Unlike verbal language, it cannot be referred back to a preexistent code. . . . he is forced back to the concept of a 'logic of implication' by which the image becomes language" (Wollen, 1972, p. 120). How the image becomes language (i.e., narrative frame), then, is the mission that semiotics sets for itself where cinema critique is concerned. One view of Rashomon that is consistent with the ideas informing semiotics is that it does indeed speak a narrative language that is chiefly visual: "As gradually accumulated the sum total of Rashomon constitutes a time mural whose unity lies in the fact that, however different are the imaginations of the four witnesses, whatever harsh vibrations their mutual contradictions set up, the general design (as the filmmakers have molded it) remains and dominates the work's final aspect of great beauty and great truth" (Tyler, 1972, p. 139).

The foregoing suggests but does no...

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"Rashomon"by Akira Kurosawa. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:41, August 21, 2017, from
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