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Showing 1-10 of 43 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 94 reviews
on August 11, 2017
Very pleased with purchase.
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on September 2, 2017
Amazing movie. :)
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on October 16, 2016
Great copy of a masterpiece. Good packaging and dvd extras.
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on April 10, 2014
All elements of filmmaking: direction, acting, cinematography, music, scee setting and lighting) presented here are unsurpassed by any film in history! The story weaves between two married couples and their destinies in the maelstrom of civil war and strife in 16 century Japan. In the center are Genjuro, a simple peasant but with a tallent for beautiful pottery making (Masayuki Mori) and his homely, devoted wife Miyagi (the fantastic Tanaka Kinoyu), and his brother Tobei with his wife Ohama. It's a film about delusions of grandeur on part of the men, and their oursuit of those delusions, neglecting and sacrificing the hapiness of their wives. From the midlle of the film, objective and subjective, supernatural realites sart to mix. The beautiful and exquisite Lady Wakasa (the divine Kyo Machiko, one of the legends of Japanese film) appears and seduces Genjuro. She later turns to be a ghost, a creature from the darkness. Genjuro comes to his senses and returns to his home and family, where yet another -last- supernatural surprise awaits for him, this time benign. Watch the movie and delight!
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on December 16, 2016
A most remarkable motion picture.
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on December 11, 2005
Ugetsu is set in 16th century Japan when the swift flow of fresh blood oozed from the battlefields and pillaged villages. This was a dark and suffering period in Japanese history and the reason it caught director Kenji Mizoguchi's attention is that he was thoroughly interested in how the civil wars influenced the life of the common people. Through Ugetsu, Mizoguchi encapsulates the social horrors of war in an extraordinary ghost story. It is a story that originates from two 18th century tales, which develops into a morality tale conveying a fascinating message of people's vain desires and lofty dreams colored by personal greed exploiting the weakness of humanity. It also portrays war's impact on the Japanese family core, as war shatters values, morals, and lives. In addition, much of the film has a strong artistic perspective with profound symbolic value, as it leaves the audience pondering the true meaning of happiness.

The resonance of a gong sounds off the opening credits followed by a bone-chillingly abstract tune-a tune composed by flutes and drums that occasionally incorporates agonizing groans. The combined musical impression of the tune generates an eerie lingering atmosphere. It is also Mizoguchi's intension, as he simply wants to induce the harrowing experience of war and suffering.

In the initial scene, the camera sweeps the story back in time through the left panning shot that displays a serene rural area at Lake Biwa in the Omi province. Slowly the camera continues to slide left, as it pans by some large bushes that functions like a natural divider between the countryside and the emerging scenery of a rock formation. At first, the scenery of the tranquil and sunny countryside offers a notion of peace and happiness. The time of peace allowed the common people to go about their daily lives without the concern of wealth, expansionism, and safety. However, the appearance of the rock formation symbolically prompts the notion of unsafe and testing times, as a ladder also leans against the rock formation. Furthermore, the ladder's presence offers an analogous opportunity to recognize its symbolic value of advancement and progress in a period of uneasiness. One thing the ladder does not show is where it ends. Thus, it is conceivably possible to imagine that one does not know where progress could end. It is a notion that should serve as an ominous warning in combination with the threatening score in the beginning.

Amidst the panning motion of the camera, Mizoguchi adds a brief, almost subliminal, shot of the seaside front of a large island with a storm brewing above. Tangibly, it has no meaning with the scene, but it carries a compelling symbolical value, as the threatening storm leaves an imprint in the mind. Aesthetically, it could lead the thoughts to the concept of Sturm und Drang, an interpretation that offers a subjective perspective on the present situation with a strong emphasis on the apprehension of the moment, which is very appropriate as a war is brewing in the background. Yet, after the subconsciously inserted visual, the film fades back into reality and the story can now begin its doomed course.

Without delay, Mizoguchi introduces the main characters, the pot maker Genjurô (Masayuki Mori) and his wife Miyagi (Kinuyo Tanaka), who holds their child Genichi, as the family prepares for the husband's departure to sell their latest batch of pots. Despite the scenes conciseness, it succeeds to illustrate all of the vital aspects of the common Japanese family core. For example, the subordinate part of a wife, the man's role as a breadwinner, and the importance of the future portrayed through a little boy. The succinct presentation to Genjurô also allows Mizoguchi to introduce additional apprehension, as the pottery family worries about the war, an execution of some spies, and the possible threat of lawless soldiers.

The scene continues with a brief cut within the scene that introduces the second couple: the peasant Tobei (Eitarô Ozawa) and his wife Ohama (Mitsuko Mito). Tobei often find himself preoccupied with his lofty aspirations and dreams of the opportunity to seize prestige, fortune, and influence. He also believes that the looming war provides a terrific chance for him to fulfill his desire to succeed as a samurai. Meanwhile, Ohama ridicules his ambition for glory and power. Maybe, she does it because he does not possess any of the seven virtues of Bushido required for a samurai, but most likely it is because he will probably only get himself killed. Despite her attempts to sway him not to seek to fulfill his ambitions, Tobei tries to find a solution to his desires for high status and wealth.

Both men set out together, but with different objectives. When they later return Genjurô is the first to arrive home, as he has profitably achieved his goal. He has made a small fortune with which he has been able to acquire some lavish treats for his wife. However, she is more pleased to see that he has returned safely, but is still appreciative of the gifts. Tobei's return is fruitless in comparison to Genjurô's, as his homecoming is that of a starved three-legged puppy with the tail between his legs.

The lucrative business excursion has allowed Genjurô a brief taste of wealth that in turn has set off an increasing need for more. Helplessly Miyagi observes the change within Genjurô, as greed has clutched a firm grip over his character. To increase his profits he hires Tobei, as Tobei also sees opportunity for his ambitions. However, in their feverish effort to gain happiness, or at least what they think is happiness, they lose perspective of reality and the dangers that lurk around their families in a time of war. Eventually Genjurô and Tobei set off to gain their riches and desires, as the leave their women stranded alone in a land that suffers from war, starvation, and famine. Their quest becomes an evil dance with death and infatuation with their cravings, as they loose themselves to their own obsessions within the war.

Through lengthy and distant shots Mizoguchi exposes the characters within their social setting, which accentuates the acts within the moment. In the process, the audience is allowed to see Mizoguchi's vision for how the ordinary people must have suffered, but also the character's actions with the environment. It is an artistic journey from the opening shot until the final frame, as everything that Mizoguchi illustrates in the film has a significant purpose. Nothing seems to have been left to chance, as it clearly becomes his vision of how people suffered during the civil wartimes of 16th century Japan. In addition, he accentuates each character's individual personality through their fate that rests within their actions. In the end, Mizoguchi accomplishes his goal to envision war's affect on ordinary people, which allows the viewer to ponder the aftermath of war and the individual choices of mankind.
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on May 10, 2016
This is one of THE GREATEST MOVIES EVER Created. Perfection of Movie Making.
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on February 2, 2013
Set in the midst of the Japanese Civil War, UGESTU tells the tale of two greedy men who risk the lives of their families for their own personal gains. Genjuro trades the life of a farmer to sell his pottery in the local townships, while Tobei foolishly fights to become a samurai to serve in the war. Their wives ask for nothing more than a simple life, but the men's selfish ambition leads them each to ruin. Kenji Mizoguchi's classic tale of karmic revenge is a masterpiece of modern art, and one of the defining films in the canon of Japanese cinema. The elegant cinematography and beautiful period setting show all of the same style and grace as the works of Akira Kurosawa, without whom the film might never have been made. It is built on the harrowing character drama between two families, and only lightly touches on the supernatural elements of the plot. While Mizoguchi sets the stage with his superb direction, it is the transcendent performances by the entire cast that draw the audience into their unfortunate circumstances. UGETSU is an exceptional human tragedy that is widely considered to be one of the greatest films ever made.

-Carl Manes
I Like Horror Movies
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on November 24, 2012
An allegorical meditation on human folly and the tragic consequences of war. Brilliant screenwriting and direction...brilliant acting...brilliant cinematography. The translation from the Japanese into English subtitles is excellent. A few scenes show scratches from the original celluloid, but these blemishes only enhance the feeling that you are viewing a fragile masterpiece!
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VINE VOICEon April 11, 2004
Despite some disturbing scenes and issues, this is a beautiful movie. It tells the story of how the search for money and glory can destroy true happiness. What makes the story work is a lot of different things. First of all, the acting is very good. Watching in in subtitles (there wasn't any other option) helped with appreciating this facet of the movie. The scenery and costumes were pretty good as well. The directing was what was the most outstanding. I confess that I have a problem with most modern movies in that they show a heavy dependance on modern technology and declining moral standards. This enables modern films to utilize two avenues of showing more and more which leaves less and less to the imagination. The talent on display in "Ugetsu" shows how directing at its' best was a true art form; greater, often, than the acting itself. There are several scenes that come to mind. As soldiers rape and pillage, there comes a scene of a gang rape of a woman. Everything we see on film makes it clear in our minds as to what has taken place. Yet the only clothing we see removed is a pair of sandals. Another scene involves an erotic encounter in which, again we understand clearly yet are not invited to watch. There are other scenes worthy of mention but I don't want to give anything away. The way this movie moves along is another testament to its' director; Kenji Mizoguchi.
On the negative side, this movie is currently only available on VHS. I confess to being frustrated with all of my Beta movies and now all of my VHS movies seeming to head towards obsolescence. However, I have come to appreciate the quality as well as the other features of DVD's. Thus I found myself immediately focussing on the occassional snap, crackle, and pop of the VHS quality. Still, once I was engrossed in the story (and that didn't take long to happen), it either ceased to bother me or the quality improved and the movie progressed.
There is a timeless message in this movie that will reach out to just about all viewers. It has to do with identifying our values and appreciating what we have rather than what we desire. Sounds like a message we've heard before but I'm not sure it's been presented quite so well before or since.
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