The sublime, in cinema - that elusive state of rapture, of ego-dissolution, wherein I become no more than an emotional/physical/chemical projector for the film to watch itself through; its realization. The only thing keeping this one from taking me completely was my brain blurting,"Gah! It's perfect" every few minutes (maybe my mind's defence against it!) That, and the heavy truth of our undiminished brutality...
the movie begins with a card that announces this tale to be set in the "dark ages", but, really, man's inhumanity to man will unfortunately be an everfresh topic for movies, as long as there is a tension between cold bureaucracy (the wheels of which are greased by the blood, sweat, and tears of the everyday people), and everyday breakthrough moments (big and small) of palpable humaneness and heartfulness.
Very good adaptation from the short story; a more realistic version. Interesting to compare with the original to see how time put its weight on the plot. Rumor has that Mizoguchi did not like the story himself; I can suspect several changes that did not come from his hands.
9 - Ravaging AND ravishing. The little nuggets of optimism it throws your way every now and then, aside from helping to elevate it a billion notches above everyday misery porn, make the bitter parts hit that much harder. How can you blame a film for tearing you up inside when it has the decency to look you in the eyes (and to forgo the whispering of sweet banalities in your ear) while it twists the knife?
Une oeuvre grave et limpide, d'un tranquille désespoir omniprésent et incontournable, dressant avec forte maîtrise et âcre lucidité un tableau sans concession de la féodalité nippone, et pourtant baignée malgré tout d'un profond humanisme intemporel, avec en exergue, un précepte simple et lumineux, mâtiné de philosophie zen : "Sois dur pour toi-même et généreux pour les autres"... www.cinefiches.com