BAMPFA Student Committee Pick
Ugetsu is a shattering experience, among the greatest movies ever made.Mike Hale, New York Times
Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori, Kinuyo Tanaka, Mitsuko Mito,
In sixteenth-century Japan, with the pandemonium of civil wars a looming presence in their lives, the potter Genjuro and his wife long to be “rich and safe,” respectively. But artistic vanity draws Genjuro into the paradisiacal realm of a phantom enchantress. In a parallel tale, Genjuro’s brother-in-law Tobei, out for military glory, achieves a general’s rank for his fraudulent exploits—another acrid apparition. In Ugetsu, the all-too-real and the supernatural move steadily toward each other; a boat ride on foggy waters foreshadows the horizontal unity Mizoguchi will give his two worlds. For, just as his images overflow with life—characters forever running off toward more life outside the frame—so this reality flows into the phantom universe as well. Mizoguchi builds an eerie netherworld entirely out of what he is given in this one: shadows and lighting, decor and texture, and the graceful chicanery of human desire.