Ugetsu ★★★½

Awfully matter-of-fact and unsparing in depiction of the selfish core of man, stating more about Japanese traditional society than it probably means to. It rides the zinger pretty hard on both counts, dumping the garbage on both of Mizoguchi's women - one is forced into prostitution by her husband's fanatical ambition, the other forced to survive while awaiting her myopically greedy, philandering better half - and punishing their men with a future lifetime of moral echoes. Because they have no control over the civil war that engulfs their village, these characters are at the mercy of a film that seems to carry an even weightier agenda by suggesting that control over one's own fate is not man's to possess. A very disquieting contrast: Even if you're decisions are good, you are still a slave to the inhumanity of human nature.