A few hours ago I put forth the notion that the Bekmambetov Moby Dick deal might be the worst artistic news of the day. Though I’ve not yet been to sleep, so this is still (for me) the same day, the turn of the clock past midnight allows this news that Rashomon will be remade as Rashomon 2010 to be the worst artistic news of another day. I’m not sure I could take both blows at once.

The remake will move the action to modern America, and put the characters’ fates into the hand of a court charged with deciding a case involving a woman’s rape and her husband’s murder. There is no script yet, nor a director or cast.

To bring an idea this ridiculous to fruition takes something like a global conspiracy. LA’s Harbor Light Entertainment and Tokyo’s Lotus head up a group including Lexicon Filmed Entertainment and Upside Down Entertainment. Harbor Light has been trying to make this work for a while; their failure up to this point is like a beacon of hope erected in my heart.

The whole idea is to have this movie (and an animated film, The Masque of Black Death, based on a 1977 unproduced Kurosawa script) out in time for the master’s 100th birthday.

Which doesn’t change the fact that Rashomon isn’t a name that has any resonance with contemporary audiences except for the knowing sort that will sweat blood at the mention of an overt remake. Play Mad Libs with a word bank built out of Ashley Judd thriller titles and you’ll come up with a dozen options that will sell this better.

Now that I think about it, I also conceive of Rashomon at this point as the film that is completely beyond any remake. The film’s story structure, which becomes a primary source of dramatic tension, has been so thoroughly woven into the fabric of cinematic language that dozens of films (not to mention television) can lay claim to being a remake. This one, so far, sounds no different.