Ugetsu ★★★★★

Unsure what I expected, but certainly not this, a film as compositionally adept as what Mizoguchi puts forward - this is certainly humanistic cinema (which is not always something that I find is necessitated), but this humanity is grounded in the scope of inescapable landscapes. I am not a fan of Kurosawa's bombast in Seven Samurai (a film with many artificial similarities) but I am a fan of the complex and challenging restraint of every setpiece in Ugetsu: people live burdened by the prison of their culture in a free land - if 50s Japan was focal on humans living and connecting within spaces, then these were the kinds of films that paved the way for the 60s: films focal on spaces living and connecting with humans. Mizoguchi's camera is very rarely static, constantly servicing the storyline (mise-en-scene is impressive in that even the tracking shots remain compositionally necessary) but not even the film itself prepares you for its final minutes: shadowed bodies, open eyes, open ears, totally open to experiencing the proper weight of tragedy. None of us learn until it is too late.

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