Rashomon, or a story of human ego

I re-read books I love, and I re-watch movies I love.

A few nights ago I re-enjoyed one of my favourite movies, Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, which is based on two short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

Photo by Leo Rivas-Micoud on Unsplash

Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon was made in 1950. Kurosawa was in his forties, yet at the beginning of his career, which would, fortunately, last for almost half of a century and have a colossal cinematic and cultural influence.

Kurosawa’s most famous movie cuts deep into human nature, exposing its dark complexity. It gives us four versions of the same event, through the eyes of the woodcutter, the thief, the raped woman and the spirit of her murdered husband. Or did he commit suicide? We’ll never know what happened because the truth is relative, the memory unreadable, the subjectivity inevitable…

“Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves,” Kurosawa would explain to his assistant directors, who were somewhat confused with the script. “They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing… even the character who died can’t give up his lies when he speaks to the living through a medium. This film is like a strange scroll that unrolls, displaying human ego…”

About my other favourite movies and books some other time…

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About jfkaufmann

Not unlike my characters, I lead a double life: by day I'm a mother, a friend, a colleague, and the queen of my kitchen. When the moon rises, however, I shift into my other self and, as Queen of the Night, I reign the magical world of my imagination.
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2 Responses to Rashomon, or a story of human ego

  1. JP McLean says:

    Kurosawa’s Rashomon was a big influence on my decision to write Betrayal because I loved the challenge of writing the original story from a different character’s perspective. Writing in the first person makes the effect even more profound.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jfkaufmann says:

    I agree. There is no one truth. In a way, Jackson’s testimony makes Emelynn’s story more credible, and her her hurt and pain more authentic. You gave him a chance to explain his actions, making him more human.

    Like

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