in about 100 words or less
Japan 94m, B&W
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi; Cast: Machiko Kyō, Mitsuko Mito, Kinuyo Tanaka, Masayuki Mori
Tales of Ugetsu is a historical drama set during the late 16thC that explores themes of war, love and loss through the lives of two peasant couples, Genjurō and Miyagi, Tōbei and Ohama. Uprooted from their village, their reactions as men and women, as well as individuals, are examined as separate strands of the story. Seeking profit and status from war, Genjurō is seduced by an apparition, while Tōbei dreams of becoming a Samurai. In contrast, both Miyagi and Ohama attempt to avoid the war, and wish only to maintain devotion to family. The film’s exquisite art direction and production design are matched by the fluid photography and an intricate screenplay which “reunite” the couples in an elegant and transcendent conclusion (Klaus Ming March 2015).