Revitalization and Recontextualization – An Approach to Rashomon from The Theory of Adaptation

Author: Le Quoc Hieu (Institute of Literature, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Vietnam)
Speaker: Le Quoc Hieu
Topic: Textualization Contextualization Entextualization
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 General Session


Akira Kurosawa’s legacy has offered a fertile invitation for intermedial and intercultural interpretations, adaptations, and dialogues. Adapted from two short stories of acclaimed writer Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, the film Rashomon surprised Hollywood by rejecting the traditional narrative method highly popular at the time. In that context, Rashomon altered Western thought by employing Eastern creativity. Since, Rashomon has continuously been regenerated and recontextualized in cinematic, stage and musical adaptations. Predicated on this transposition is the process of dialogue, reinterpretation, and negotiation, so to reproduce and recontextualize a target text in emerging semiotic and cultural environments.

This article, through observing the work Rashomon in films such as The Outrage (Martin Ritt, US, 1964; ML Pundhevanop Devakula, Thailand, 2011), investigates and attempts to respond to the following questions: How do cinematic adaptations of Kurosawa’s film maneuver and address differences in eras? How do American and Thai contexts alter our approach to this story? What elements supplement, eliminate and transform literary and cinematic transpositions? What indeterminant places, points, or gaps in the narrative effect new reinterpretations of source texts?

Keywords: Revitalization, recontextualization, Adaptation, Rashomon, Akira Kurosawa, The Outrage