UGETSU Monogatari (1953)

Kenji Mizoguchi

Japan circa 1953
97 minutes
Black and White

"It is a formal style, but not a formalist one, and the astonishing visual beauty of Mizoguchi's images never deadens the power of his human drama, or his sense of outrage against oppression. The supreme demonstration of his method is the scene of the murder of the heroine in Ugetsu, staged in long shot: the wounded Kinuyo Tanaka, stabbed by bandits in a quarrel over food, crawling away in the foreground, while, in the distance, the thieves squabble over the food they have robbed from her. In its juxtaposition of high tragedy and intransigent physical realism, the scene deserves the adjective Shakespearean." - Alexander Jacoby