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Ugetsu

Ugetsu(1953)

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  • ugetsu

    • kevin sellers
    • 12/19/16

    Wonderful filmed parable about the dangers of greed, unbridled sexuality, and military glory, the later perhaps an allusion to the Japanese WW2 misadventure from radical Socialist director Kenji Mizoguchi. Two male Japanese peasants, a farmer and a potterer, allow their dreams of riches, women, and Samurai fame to take over their lives. In the process, they almost destroy themselves and their families. The film is set in 16th century Japan, a time of war and strife. (Come to think of it, when has a Japanese period film ever NOT been set in a time of war and strife?) Mizoguchi's style, as previous reviewer Dashiell B has astutely noted, is a combo of realism and fantasy. The former is used in the beginning to draw the viewer in, while the later is then employed with greater frequency in the middle to deepen the story. All the performers are excellent, but I was particularly taken with Machiko Kyu as the embodiment of the potterer's unhealthy sexual obsessions. With her mincing walk, tortured face, and agressively submissive body she is the most disturbing character in a very dark film. And to top it all off the cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa is hauntingly lovely. The last shot of a child placing food on his mother's grave and then panning to show the peasants tilling fields and the clouds and sky above is one of the more poetic final images you'll see on film. Indeed, my only criticism is that the scenes between husbands and wives can get pretty darn histrionic. So, let's give it an A minus.

  • Ugetsu Monogatari

    • Dashiell B.
    • 4/10/13

    The best known film from director Mizoguchi. Two ambitious men in 16th century Japan rise during a civil war while their wives suffer. Beautifully photographed, Mizoguchi intertwines the supernatural realm with reality to express themes of love, lusting for power and responsibility. A perplexing, quick-paced supernatural love story that ranks as one of Japan's greatest films. I give it a 4.5/5.

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