Monday, July 05, 2010
With 16th century Japan's feudal wars as a backdrop, director Kenji Mizoguchi's lyrical masterpiece delivers a profound message about the ephemeral nature of human life. Despite the conflict raging around them, a potter (Masayuki Mori) and a farmer (Saka Ozawa) -- two peasants with visions of grandeur -- journey to the city seeking wealth and glory. But their blind ambition ultimately takes its toll … on the families they left behind.
What an incredible film. A true classic film by director Kenji Mizoguchi. Filmed in 1953, this is film is part ghost story but not like any ghost story I have ever seen. Incredible. This film is on the same level as Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, another masterpiece of a film. I've read other opinions that Ugetsu is one of the top ten Japanese films of all time and I might have to agree. Aside from the story and the masterful directing, this film has magnificent acting and stunning photography, especially the eerie Lake Biwa scene in the fog. This film deals with both the devastation of war and the greed of the male dominated society and it's effects on the wives and family of the potter and the farmer. Mizoguchi (1898–1956) began his career in the silent era. Later, during the early 1940s, Mizoguchi was hampered by the nation's war propaganda effort, but in spite of that he did make a highly regarded two-part version of The 47 Ronin.