Kurosawa, meet Faust

I love Akira Kurosawa.

I think I love Faust.

Kurosawa is one of my favorite movie directors, period. My first Kurosawa was Seven Samurai, a great movie if you don’t mind subtitles, black & white, and sitting in one place for 3+ hours.

Almost immediately after Seven Samurai, I sat down to Ikiru, which I found to be a touching movie. At one point, the main character Watanabe meets a journalist fellow while drinking heavily. The journalist, a well-educated man, utters quite a few things that make no sense to me, and I strive to be a well-educated individual. Among his mumblings, he mentions Mephistopheles (the emphasis is ‘stof’), as well as “Ecce homo.”

Mephistopheles is (according to dictionary.com) “one of the seven chief devils and the tempter of Faust.” Naturally, you’d have to have read Faust to know that, and I haven’t gotten around to it.

Ecce homo (ecce = echee or exsee), on the other hand, is Latin for “Behold the man!” This is Pilate’s quote when presenting Jesus with his crown of thorns to the crowd. (Found in John 19:5).  It also references any artwork in which Jesus is portrayed with a crown of thorns.

So there you have it. I don’t quite remember the use of these two items in Ikiru, but it’s good to know anyway.


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