Beautifully filmed, masterfully composed frames, great use of light, and excellent music. The late nineteenth century Japan setting gives it a unique feel, backed up by strong performances. This definitely is top class cinema, but the story seems to be the weakest part here - it's starting to drag a bit towards the end and some scenes and characters don't seem to match the rest of the film (police officer, the fire).
Hermosa, y a la vez terrible, como la vida. Pues era la vida, el amor, el deseo, lo que unía a los amantes. Pero, como en todo verdadero amor y deseo vitales, a los dos amantes los unía también la muerte. Y ellos recorrieron ese camino hasta el final, como si un destino que unía ambos extremos debiese ser cumplido por los dos, pues se amaban de tal forma que no podían, literalmente no podían, separarse.
With the 'empire' being transferred to a poor village Oshima continues his politics of seclusion and delivers a stunning synthesis of raw sexuality -devoid as it were of romanticism- and of (non-naturalistically filmed) naturalist ontology. The eerie and oneiric portrayal of the village is punctuated by violent sexual attraction that culminates in the gorgeous shots of the pit as man's return to the inorganic state.
The cinematography here is exceptional; of smoke, snow, earth and water. But wind? Never. No wind for these stale lovers, for the rotting leaves. The narrative drags a bit towards the end, as the eroticization overshadows the haunting beauty of the ghost story.