KAZUO MIYAGAWA, Cinamatographer | Rashomon (1950)

I chose to watch Rashomon because I’d heard of the name in the form of a novel in the film Ghostdog: The Way Of The Samurai. The cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa was really experimental in his approach to photographing this film.

His use of natural lighting from the sun is very a symbolic way to portray the characters.

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He used the sun to symbolize evil and good in the film, arguing that the wife gives in to the bandit’s desires when she sees the sun. However, I read that the sun was too weak and they had to use a mirror to reflect to sunlight to make it strong resulting in the light travelling through the branches. Kazuo Miyagawa also uses some expressionist techniques through the use of shadows. I particularly enjoyed the way characters were framed.

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The use of sunlight is particularly effective in the woods. Rashomon also had shots that were directly into the sun. Kazuo Miyagawa is also know for his tracking shots which are apparent in the film. Some tracking shots particularly when characters are running in the woods create a blurred motion from the leaves.

Mise-en-scene is also quite symbolic to support the contrast of good vs evil. The use of space is also great particularly during the scenes at Rashomon.

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