Ugetsu ★★★★★

Just absolutely stunning. Beautiful haunting image after haunting image, a real sense both of the otherworldly and of showing us the past and managing to get across a very coherent and consistent but never heavy handed message about 1953 or indeed human nature while staying true to the genre material. It deals with the super natural and the overreaching ideas supremely but never ever moves away from the idea of fragile, vulnerable humanity in danger of being extinguished by other people. Again and again men are idiots and women pay the price and the scenes that get this across are as movingly down to earth and real as some of the other stuff is sublime and haunting. It's an absolute masterwork.

The early scenes of village life, precarious in amongst war, small scale ambitions and triumphs are presented incredibly well. Getting you inside the different personalities and their needs and ambitions that will either drive the story or horribly be snuffed out by other people. The scenes of the soldiers coming and arbitarily destroying everyone's lives are actually less horrific than later scenes of armed men thrashing wildly around the countryside but get across the idea of a country in chaos and turning on itself beautifully.

When the film moves on into different areas, making allegorical points and handling both the supernatural and human cruelty as well as I've ever seen it handled, definitely shot as evocatively as i've ever seen things shot it's these establishing scenes that buy it it's emotional currency.

It would almost be pointless to list specific shots and scenes, or even performances, it all fits together seamlessly and is pretty much all stunning.

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