Ugetsu ★★★★½


Absolutely brilliant. Combines multiple genres with breathless ease into a cohesive and absolutely powerful final product. We follow two peasant couples as they struggle with being uprooted from their village. Genjurō wants to use the situation as a means of making money by selling his pottery, while Miyagi (which such child like glee) wants to become a Samurai and fight in the war.

The stories told are timeless and very easy to relate to in one way or another. This film takes you in directions you may not expect. Maybe it's because I didn't really read the synopsis...but there is a major shift in this story about two thirds of the way through that really changes the impact and themes of the film. This shift also is what makes Ugetsu special and gives it that gut punch of a final third. Just in case anyone is like me and doesn't know what this is, I'm not gonna spoil it. Needless to say though...when it happened I was sitting there enthralled, and any complains of a somewhat slow middle act suddenly were kicked in the ass.

The final ten minutes or so of this film knocked me out cold. It's haunting, sad, and teaches a valuable lesson. So far, Ugetsu is one of those films that is living on in my mind and will probably grow in my affection as I think more about it. Easily towards the top of the heap for classic Japanese cinema. A must see.