Archive for March 14th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(Japan 1953 96m) DVD1/2

Aka. Ugetsu/ Tales of the Pale and Silvery Moon After the Rain 

Greed begets nothing but greed

p  Masaichi Nagata  d  Kenji Mizoguchi  w  Matsutaro Kawaguchi, Yoshikata Yoda  book  “Tales of a Pale and Mysterious Moon after the Rain” by Akinara Ueda  ph  Kazuo Miyagawa  ed  Mitsuzo Miyata  m  Fumio Hasayaka, Ichiro Saito  art  Kisaku Ito  cos  Kusune Kainosho

Machiko Kyo (Lady Wukasa), Masayuki Mori (Genjuro), Kinuyo Tanaka (Miyagi), Sakae Ozawa (Tobei), Mitsuko Mito (Ohama), Mitsusaburo Ramon (captain), Ryosuke Kagawa (village chief), Sugisaku Aoyama (old priest), Kikue Mori (Ukon),

There’s a wonderful section in Peter Bogdanovich’s book about his discussions with Orson Welles where the two come to discuss the great directors of world cinema.  When Bogdanovich brings up Mizoguchi, Welles feigns ignorance.  Only later does he admit his respect for him when declaring “he can’t be praised enough, really.”  Not only is Welles right about Mizoguchi’s career, but about his great films.  Of those great films none had quite so big an impact as Ugetsu, his haunting adaptation of two tales by Akinara Ueda.

            In 16th century Japan, during a Civil War and close to Lake Biwa, two farmers, Genjuro and Tobei, dream of escaping their drudgery by making money from their other side-earner, pottery.  They risk both their own and their families’ lives to go off to market to sell their wares, only for Genjuro to leave behind his wife to go off with a mysterious noblewoman, Lady Wukasa.  Meanwhile Tobei purses his long-standing wish to be a samurai.  However, in their absence, their wives suffer much misfortune, with one raped and ending up a prostitute. (more…)

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