“Quite simply one of the greatest of filmmakers,” said Jean-Luc Godard of Kenji Mizoguchi. And Ugetsu, a ghost story like no other, is surely the Japanese director’s supreme achievement. Derived from stories by Akinari Ueda and Guy de Maupassant, this haunting tale of love and loss—with its exquisite blending of the otherworldly and the real—is one of the most beautiful films ever made. —The Criterion Collection
Kenji Mizoguchi entered the film world as a promoter of Western novelty in Japanese cinema and exited it as an acclaimed international director who exemplified Japan at its most traditional. After The Life of Oharu and Ugetsu won prizes in successive Venice Film Festivals in the early ‘50s, Mizoguchi became an icon for the nascent French New Wave. His mastery of mise-en-scène was lauded by Jacques Rivette, while Jean-Luc Godard praised his metaphysics and his stylistic elegance. Mizoguchi is still recognized as one of the 20th century’s greatest filmmakers. Born in Tokyo, in 1898, Mizoguchi was the middle child of a roofer/carpenter. His family’s financial situation went from modest to desperate when his erratic, dreamer father tried to make a killing by selling raincoats to the military during the Russo-Japanese war. Not having enough money for food, Mizoguchi’s older sister was put up for adoption at age 14. She was later sold to a geisha house. Mizoguchi himself… read more
CC#309: Moralistic fable - the arrogant aspirations of the peasantry to surpass their lot; fervour ignited by vices of greed, status etc. Seminal social treatise on class disparities in feudal Japan, with a classic dichotomy of two families’ parallel fates along the same blind, though ultimately redemptive course, as framed through Mizoguchi’s graceful, sinuous montage. If little else substantively revelatory, the stand-out print in the Janus 50 set thus far.
Yes I'm aware that I'm wrong about this one. I liked it. Solid flick. Just couldn't quite see what everyone else sees. I've seen far more beautiful black and white cinematography, far more wrenching morality tales and far more haunting ghost stories. I honestly found very little that was striking about this piece that I haven't seen elsewhere. Perhaps it's a case of Mizoguchi getting there first. Was hoping for more.
El año de 1954 representò una nueva etapa en la carrera del director japonès Kenji Mizoguchi. A raiz del arrollador triunfo tres años atras de su compatriota Akira Kurosawa y su film Rashomon (1950… read review
I cant say enough about this film. In 97 minutes, Mizoguchi was able to decimate the entire enigma that is human desire. The film itself is of absolute perfection, saturated in emotional truths and… read review
Everyone knows the Japanese film-maker Akira Kurosawa, but how many have seen the films of his contemporary Kenzi Mizoguchi? His films didn’t receive the international attention that Kurosawa’s did… read review