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The thematic function of light and dark is in no way accidental.
It was Kurosawas aim to be as symbolic as he could with light and shadow, saying in his autobiography that the film "goes into the depths of the human heart as if with a surgeons scalpel, laying bare its dark complexities and bizarre twists.
Rashomon is based on two stories, "Rashomon" and "In a Grove," both by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.
Its structure (the telling of the same story from different perspectives) and theme come from these original works.
In English and other languages, Rashomon has become a byword for any situation in which the truth of an event is difficult to verify due to the conflicting accounts of different witnesses.
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Kurosawa, we might be inclined to say, does little more than retell a great story from the eleventh century . Kurosawas contribution of this beautiful world of light and darkness gives the text a universe far outside Akutagawas imaginings.
Kurosawa also adds much substance to characters that are empty in the original stories, which are very short, hardly containing the elaborateness of the film.