For the woodcutter’s progress into the heart of the forest, with its almost hypnotic flow of motion through surprising cuts and camera movements, becomes our progress into the heart of the film.
When he stops, we are there and the forest has become the central setting of the film; the three men in the rain at the gate become a chorus commenting on the action in the clearing.
He sees a fire by the top of the stairs so he sneaks up and looks.
There is an old woman pulling hair out of the corpses.
After a little thinking, he pulls off her kimono and runs off deciding that he had to steal to eat. The servant had served a samurai for a few years; however, due to the decline of Kyoto, was dismissed.
He abandons her naked on the stairs and disappears into the night. The hag or old woman's past is unknown, for the only information the reader has is that she is found pulling out hair from the corpses to make a wig.The dichotomy of morality and immorality are correlated through the characters.The servant had decided not to steal before entering Rashomon holding up his morality, however after the hag's speech about selling hair to survive, he changes.With a puzzling theme of unusual depth, presented in a distinctive style that owed more to Russian silent films than to Hollywood classic film of the ‘30s, Rashomon intrigued audiences worldwide and became one of the most influential films of the 1950s, even inspiring a lackadaisical remake, The Outrage, a dozen years later.Two time strands, interwoven, create the meditation.Thus this scene, like those at the Rashomon gate, represents dead time, yet its energy and impulsion, created by movement and rhythm, links it to events in the woods.These two minutes do not advance the plot at all, still they are essential for our experience of the film.Under the Rashomon gate time hangs heavily, dead, empty, idle; in the forest time is charged with passion and anxiety, with life and honor at stake.Kurosawa first breaches the distance between these two by a dazzling two minutes of pure cinema which combines both—the woodcutter’s walk into the forest, sixteen shots of continuous varied movement while the story waits in abeyance.Both seem like real people with characteristics that are naturalistic.The servant shows his strength and social class with his sword and physical power.