Ishun is a wealthy, but unsympathetic, master printer who has wrongly accused his wife and best employee of being lovers. To escape punishment, the accused run away together, but Ishun is certain to be ruined if word gets out.
An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.
In the beginning of the springtime in the period of the Japanese Civil Wars of the Sixteenth Century in Lake Biwa in the Province of Omi, the family man farmer and craftsman Genjurô travels to Nagahama to sell his wares and makes a small fortune. His neighbor Tobei that is a fool man dreams on becoming a samurai, but he can not afford to buy the necessary outfit. The greedy Genjurô and Tobei work together manufacturing clay potteries, expecting to sell the pieces and enrich; however, their wives Miyage and Ohama are worried about the army of the cruel Shibata that is coming to their village and they warn their ambitious husbands. Their village is looted but the families flee and survive; Genjurô and Tobei decide to travel by boat with their wives and baby to sell the wares in a bigger town. When they meet another boat that was attacked by pirates, Genjurô decides to leave his wife and son on the bank of the river, promising to return in ten days. Genjurô, Tobei and Ohama raise a large... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This was my first Mizoguchi movie, so perhaps I watched it a little with child´s eyes. I liked it very much - it´s more fast-paced than I would expect from Japanese filmmaking. Mizoguchi is indeed a visual poet, the visual composition of every sequence looks as have been carefully planned, with much more importance given to imagery rather than dialogue. "Ugetsu" main themes, I believe, are the submission of women on feudal Japan - the transformation of the lives of the wifes of the two pottery dealers is treated very handsomely, each one striving to lead a decent life after being abandoned by their husbands, but failing in the end. The boat scene, with the encounter of a dying man, is also very beautiful. It´s a major turning point in the film, similar to a scene in Kurosawa´s "Throne of Blood" (mist, swamp, incertainty...)
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