Ugetsu ★★★★½

A landmark of Japanese cinema and one of the most untouchable cinematic experiences, Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu is a phenomenal masterpiece in every aspect. Dwelling on themes of greed and class and telling a wonderful fantasy masterpiece that challenges the human mind, Ugetsu is alongside Kurosawa's Rashomon, the Japanese masterpiece that introduced Eastern cinema to Western countries.

Wrapped around as a fantasy, Mizoguchi's Ugetsu tells the story of two peasants: one aspires to being a samurai and the other desires to sell his wares to lands further away. Both characters in virtually parallel storylines are challenged by their greed, stubborness and their fierce desire for wealth and fame.

Though its story is fantastic and its characters are compelling, Ugetsu is ultimately about the rare cinematic experience of observing 16th Century Japanese conventions. Twisted, rare and absolutely immersive in every regard, Ugetsu is in  an enhanced cinematic experience, a large reason for its popularity and praise in Western countries that was not found in Japan at the time of its release.

From the eclectic music to the stunning cinematography and brisk pacing, Ugetsu is in every way a masterpiece of the fantasy genre as it is an influential Japanese masterpiece. Bending what was allowed at the time of its release by being an almost early erotic thriller, Ugetsu was dismissed by Japanese audiences but admired by Western audiences. A classic in every regard that is incredibly effective at setting up an atmosphere, Ugetsu is more about the experience than the story and characters.