I very recently watched for the first time (I know I know) Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa (1950) and was stunned by the introspection of cinema it constitutes. Here, it is probably important to notify purists that I will reveal important details of the movie, so people who would have not seen it yet, and who would keep an absolute innocence about it should not read what follows.
Rashomon is a metaphorical movie about which problems cinema deals with. A character tells the story of three different versions of the same story he heard in a courthouse about a murder. The three versions are the three very different points of views of the three characters involved, the thief/lover, the wife and the killed husband. In each of those story the narrator enhance the behavior of the two other characters and the scene is shot with great dramaturgy by Kurosawa. The narrator always ends up to be the murderer, even in the case of suicide. By doing so, the narrator of each version, put the light on his (her) person even through the mean of a crime, and accentuate the dramatization of his (her) character.
Eventually comes a fourth version from an external observer of the scene that has manifestly no reason to lie. In this version the three characters are pathetic, selfish and clumsy and the crime, the only real dramatic event, is presented almost as an accident that is immediately regretted by its author.
My interpretation of this movie -and I insist that it’s only my interpretation- is a praise of fiction as something that exists on its own. It is indeed inspired by reality and maintain a dialogue with it, but brings something more interesting in its symbolic and narrative than the crude pathetic phenomenon of the real. At the same time Rashomon can be said to be the work of a genius only because this same real is being shown in opposition to the fictionalized versions. This confrontation is what cinema is about says Kurosawa.