Ugetsu

雨月物語 (Ugetsu monogatari)
Japan 1953. Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi. 97 min. DCP

NEW RESTORATION | Mizoguchi’s supreme masterpiece — screening here in a radiant new restoration — is one of cinema's canonical works and one of the most beautiful films ever made. During Japan’s feudal wars of the 16th century, an ambitious village potter abandons his devoted wife for the wealth of the city and the seductive pleasures of a ghost woman, only to realize too late what he has lost. Simultaneously realistic, allegorical, and supernatural, Ugetsu is a film of rare lyricism and emotional power. It has elements of Noh theatre and, in its acceptance of human suffering, evidence of the director’s recent conversion to Buddhism (his earlier films had been more strident in their politics and feminism). The magnificent use of elaborate, panoramic, long-take sequence shots attests to Mizoguchi’s status (with the likes of Renoir, Ophüls, Welles, and Murnau) as one of cinema’s masters of mise-en-scène aesthetics. Like Rashomon before it, Ugetsu was instrumental in introducing the Western world to the glories of Japanese cinema.

REVIEWS

"A ravishingly composed, evocatively beautiful film."

Time Out | full review

★★★★ "One of the greatest of all films."

Roger Ebert | full review

"Mizoguchi's masterpiece ... One of the great experiences of cinema."

Chicago Reader | full review