Ugetsu ★★★★

After watching Sansho The Bailiff it was clear to me that Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi has a very precise understanding of human emotion, more specifically temptation, sorrow, and regret. Ugetsu, while I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Sansho The Bailiff, followed this observation of mine perfectly. It was an admonitory story of moral corruption, told with a precision that is distinctly distant from the characters. During the first two acts, nothing was really happening and I was getting worried that this film’s nuance would be lost on me, however in the final 30-40 minutes everything comes to fruition perfectly, and the film proves to be well worth the watch. Ugetsu has the atmosphere and tone of a fable, a story you’d tell around a fireplace to warn others about the dangers of greed and lust, and looking at it through that lens makes me appreciate it so much more. I wish I had a stronger emotional reaction to the ending, and I still think there are some pacing issues throughout, but this film is still great.

8.5 / 10