Ugetsu ★★★½

Included In Lists:
Criterion Collection - #309

It was apparent in The Life of Oharu, Kenji Mizoguchi’s previous project to Ugetsu, explored the parallels between his nation’s history and the present climate that surrounded society during production. Oharu dissected the suffering of women in a manner that felt powerfully brutal, and it was an initial experience into this auteur’s filmography that drove me with excitement to further explore his oeuvre.

Immediately I will state this, Ugetsu doesn’t carry with it the sweeping bravado and penetrating depth that Oharu managed to capture, and yet I still admire the concepts it decided to explore. Here we find Mizoguchi, once again, demonstrating the parallels between Japanese history and the country’s modern condition. Fresh off their defeat from the war, Mizoguchi encapsulated the sense of temptations and downfall that grew within men’s hearts in the midst of war, where their feeling of dissatisfaction were amplified and was easily disillusioned by the promises and opportunities of warfare, may that be to earn more money to garner them a more comfortable life, or to finally prove their worth as the head of the household by becoming a samurai or soldier to fulfill their desire for glory, revealing the insecure souls that linger beneath that needed to be fed. It seemed apparent through the omens that conveniently enter into their pathways for hopeful success that ill-fate would befall upon them and that such profit and glory would only be temporary.

Ugetsu exists as a warning to its viewers of the true nature of war, that its function is only to take lives and happiness away, and the longer that one becomes trapped in that spider-web, the more suffering would be inflicted.

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