Ugetsu

Ugetsu ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

phillip lopate's essay on this tower of world cinema discusses the possibility of mizoguchi's endlessly moving, detached camera to be somewhat like the ghosts it depicts throughout its runtime. ugetsu isn't quite the dreamlike piece (though the iconic shot between the spring and the picnic..you know the one, comes very close) that the last movie I saw (flowers of shanghai) is, but nonetheless there is an air of floatiness to it. the lake scene, another of the more memorable sequences of this movie, is as close as we get to pure surrealism. otherwise, mizoguchi takes an interesting approach at bringing a ghostly view to what is otherwise a very realistically told story. the scenes don't have too heightened of a fantasy/surrealism edge to them, and the whole of the film is kept fairly easy to follow. it was lovely after watching the ascent to see another war movie where common people are affected by war, though this is of course *the* subject of this movie (opposed to the ascent, which has more depictions). despite its WWII roots, the movie does a fantastic job of being timeless, and it's nice to see that Mizoguchi's ideals haven't really aged in terms of Japanese society and the commentary that comes with it. I would argue too that this movie is one of the more perfectly paced ever made...the 97 minutes absolutely flies by, and I feel every single scene, every single shot is integral to the whole of the film. the subplot, though ideally for comic relief, ends up adding necessary balance to what would be an otherwise extremely bleak story, while at the same time feeling appropriate for commentary within japanese society.

will have to revisit with the commentary soon, this was my first time watching this in awhile and I'll go up from 4.5 to 5 on it. there's a reason this is as regarded as it is...

Ryan liked this review