Screenwriter Dies at Age 100, Of “Rashomon,” 1950, Greatest Film of Japan Ever.

Shinobu Hashmoto just died at age 100. His original screenplay for the greatest movie ever made in Japan was initially written while he was recovering in a Japanese hospital for war veterans.with him having tuberculosis. It is famous for showing how different observers of reality may have different views of that reality. The film’s director was Kurowsawa, who worked closely with Hashimoto on many of his films. Regarding the greatest of them all, “Rashomon,” even though now many see it as the ultimate inside view of Japanese culture, not to mention its far broader philosophical implications, when the film was being made,three assistant directors objected to the making of as they “did not understand” what the film was about. The following is an English translation of Kurowoawa’s reply to his assistant directors, as reported by Harrison Smith in his WaPo obit of Hashimoto:

“Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves. They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing. This script portrays such human beings — the kind who cannot survive without lies to make them feel they are better people than they really are . . . You say that you can’t understand this script at all, but that is because the human heart itself is impossible to understand. If you focus on the impossibility of truly understanding human psychology and read the script one more time, I think you will grasp the point of it.”

Barkley Rosser