Ken Suzuki’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ugetsu is a masterpiece in the telling of atmospheric ghost stories which helped introduce Japanese cinema to mainstream Western audience, the same as Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon. Based on Ugetsu Monogatari collection of nine supernatural tales by the Japanese author Ueda Akinari, first published in 1776. It is a tale of ambition, love and deceit that took place in the 16th century during the Japanese Civil War. The film is so well made that you feel as if you're entering the world of mystery that you can feel that bleak and misty atmosphere as you're cruising into another world that you have to risk everything behind and make your fortune just like the characters in this movie.
Tell the story of two ambitious peasants, Genjuro and Tobei, who wish to make their fortunes. Genjuro, a potter who intends to sell his wares in the city for his wife and his kids, Tobei, a man who wishes to be a samurai. Their village got offended by marauding armies, so they decided to head to the city, but then they heard that there was a pirate on the way they were going, so Genjuro decided to leave his wife and kids behind. Once they arrived, the city Genjuro starts to sell his wares and Tobei spends his money on samurai armors and weapons, then sneak into the samurai clan. Then there's a noblewoman Lady Wakasa who is interested in Genjuro's wares and asks him to visit her place. When he arrives there, she said that she admires his work and wants to marry him and at the same time his wife was stabbed by several soldiers who searched for her for food. Genjuro was soon overwhelmed by lust and greed and completely forgot about his wife and child.
As far as I can see, in Mizoguchi films he always reflects the hardship of being a woman in his film since his sister was sold into the geisha profession - an event which profoundly affected Mizoguchi's outlook on life. He maintained a fierce resistance against his father throughout his life and compensated his sister's pain and disgraceful by putting the hardship of being a woman in most of his movies, in which she always dedicated herself and worked hard for her brother to live well and. and the point of this movie is basically a life lesson about when you seek for rank and might and when you are overwhelmed by greed, you must realise that it's not the best thing in your life but your family and people around you, which might seem basic and normal for you, but you must appreciate them as long as you and them are still alive. Which Genjuro and Tobei both of them were overwhelmed by greed, rank and might to the point where they forgot about their wife and child. Thus film also presents an anti-war idea just like other Japanese New Wave films.