Ugetsu ★★★½

“How high can a man rise without big dreams? Ambition must be boundless as the ocean”

The atmosphere in Ugetsu Monogatari is nothing short of suffocating. Life in Japan in the 16th century was probably tough enough, but there’s a certain nerve given to these everyday chores due to the constant looming war. It’s a pleasantly slow pace — only cut off by an unnecessary song number — and Kenji Mizoguchi frames the film with ghastly shadows and a fitting black-and-white tone to fit the looming mood and silent landscapes where the screams of victims cut through everything.

Even with all this, it’s not to be forgotten that this is a love-story at heart. Admittedly the film doesn’t always focus evenly on everything, but the love here is still portrayed with just enough level of melodrama, soothing music and a passionate acting. Ugetsu Monogatari is a tragic example of the fact that war may be started by the ruling men, but fought by the everyday people in a brutal intimacy.

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