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Ugetsu
(Ugetsu Monogotari)

Screening on Film
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.
With Masayuki Mori, Kinuyo Tanaka, Machiko Kyo.
Japan, 1953, 35mm, black & white, 96 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.
Print source: Janus Films

Not only does Ugetsu remain Mizoguchi’s best-known work in this country, it was instrumental (with Rashomon) in introducing Japanese cinema to American audiences. The film is an excellent entryway into the master’s films, with its parallel stories of women confounded by social mores and the greed and ambition of the men they love. Just as the screenplay adds a bit of Guy de Maupassant to the source material (a collection of stories by Ueda Akinari published in 1771), so the film introduces a note of the fantastic into its tales of lives cast into turmoil by civil war in 16th-century Japan. 

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The Tales and Tragedies of Kenji Mizoguchi

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Devour the Land: Cinema, landscape, history.