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Ugetsu monogatari
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Ugetsu (1953) More at IMDbPro »Ugetsu monogatari (original title)

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Ugetsu -- Derived from stories by Akinari Ueda and Guy de Maupassant, this haunting tale of love and loss—with its exquisite blending of the otherworldly and the real—is one of the most beautiful films ever made.


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Up 61% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Yoshikata Yoda (screenplay)
Matsutarô Kawaguchi (adaptation)
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Release Date:
7 September 1954 (USA) See more »
A fantastic tale of war, love, family and ambition set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination See more »
(38 articles)
User Reviews:
The illusionary world See more (58 total) »


  (in credits order)
Machiko Kyô ... Lady Wakasa
Mitsuko Mito ... Ohama

Kinuyo Tanaka ... Miyagi

Masayuki Mori ... Genjûrô
Eitarô Ozawa ... Tôbee (as Sakae Ozawa)
Sugisaku Aoyama ... Old Priest
Mitsusaburô Ramon ... Captain of Tamba Soldiers
Ryôsuke Kagawa ... Village Master
Kichijirô Ueda ... Shop Owner
Shôzô Nanbu ... Shintô Priest
Kikue Môri ... Ukon
Ryûzaburô Mitsuoka ... Soldier
Ichirô Amano ... Boatsman
Eigorô Onoe ... Knight
Saburô Date ... Vassal
Fumihiko Yokoyama ... Meshiro
Ichisaburo Sawamura ... Genichi
Koji Murata
Yukio Horikita ... Armored knight
Akira Shimizu ... Armored knight
Shuntarô Tamamura ... Armored knight
Shirô Osaki ... Armored knight
Toshio Chiba ... Armored knight
Hachiro Okuni ... Brothel armored knight
Shirô Miura ... Brothel guest
Hajime Koshikawa
Tetsu Mikami ... Brothel guest
Jun Fujikawa ... Defeated soldier
Takaji Fukui ... Defeated soldier
Eiji Ishikura ... Defeated soldier
Tokurin Takeda ... Defeated soldier
Kôji Kanda ... Defeated soldier
Masayoshi Kikuno ... Chôhatsu's soldier
Michio Yuri ... Chôhatsu's soldier
Sô Funagami
Shigeru Hasegawa
Teruko Ômi ... Prostitute
Keiko Koyanagi ... Prostitute
Masako Tomura ... Prostitute
Tokiko Mita ... Lady attendant
Tokuko Ueda ... Lady attendant
Sachiko Sôma
Reiko Kongo ... Old Woman in Brothel
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kazue Tamaki ... Villager
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Directed by
Kenji Mizoguchi 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Matsutarô Kawaguchi  adaptation
Hisakazu Tsuji  idea (as Kyûchi Tsuji)
Akinari Ueda  stories Asaji Ga Yado and Jasei No In
Yoshikata Yoda  screenplay

Produced by
Masaichi Nagata .... producer
Original Music by
Fumio Hayasaka 
Tamekichi Mochizuki 
Ichirô Saitô 
Cinematography by
Kazuo Miyagawa 
Film Editing by
Mitsuzô Miyata 
Production Design by
Masatsugu Hashimoto 
Art Direction by
Kisaku Ito 
Set Decoration by
Kosaburô Nakajima 
Costume Design by
Tadaoto Kainosho 
Shima Yoshizane  (as Shima Yoshimi)
Makeup Department
Yoshiya Fukuyama .... makeup artist
Ritsu Hanai .... hair stylist
Production Management
Kazuhiko Oohashi .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Tokuzô Tanaka .... assistant director
Art Department
Uichiro Yamamoto .... set designer
Seiichi Ôta .... assistant art director
Sound Department
Akira Suzuki .... sound recordist
Iwao Ôtani .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Ennosuke Asada .... still photographer
Yasuo Iwamoto .... lighting technician
Kenichi Okamoto .... gaffer
Shôzô Tanaka .... camera operator
Other crew
Emi Kimura .... archivist
Kinshichi Kodera .... choreographer
Kinnosuke Matsunami .... stage manager
Tasaburô Oota .... background design
Shôichi Yamane .... movement director

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Ugetsu monogatari" - Japan (original title)
"Tales of Ugetsu" - USA (literal English title)
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96 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Did You Know?

The films original title, Ugetsu Monogatari, roughly translates to "Tales of the Moon and Rain."See more »
Movie Connections:


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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
The illusionary world, 8 October 2011
Author: chaos-rampant from Greece

You may read elsewhere about the film's (and the filmmaker's) boundless humanism, the graceful cinematography, the classical composition; platitudes about these abound on the web, instead I want to direct your attention elsewhere.

It's a really really simple film if we analyze academically - yet, always so curiously, so amusingly, it's these academical treatises that rumble on endlessly with their dry, boring 'insights' about the mise-en-scene. But a film handled with the elegance and competence of someone who knows about more than filmmaking; who just happens to be able to express himself in film, and so can posit us inside the film in richer ways than simply cinematic.

What I mean is this: on the surface this is one of the narratives on bad karma the Japanese were so fond of sharing with themselves, an older story from the late 18th century dressed up in film material. It is about two men who sow the seeds of their own undoing by pursuing status and wealth. Civil war tears the land, they exploit this to their advantage. One of them is merely a pompous buffoon, and through cowardice he gets to be a samurai - its own comment on the privileged caste. His punishment is ordinary, a simple irony. But the other, the sadder loss of the two, is a skilled artisan; a potter who could enrich lives by giving but instead devotes himself to accumulating. It is he who is granted a supernatural, extraordinary vision to remind him how far he has strayed. Ghosts appear to redress the balance, signifiers of a troubled soul.

That's all unexceptionally fine, but for me the film's power rests elsewhere. The Japanese have given us since much better treatises on karma, Straits of Hunger and Sword of Doom from the following decade are two of them.

We may be inclined to rest our interpretation here with a passing comment on great camera-work, because all of this is more or less readily available to us, it makes some immediate sense. The closest type of film we have to this here in the West is film noir, and we have seen plenty of that already that this may even seem outdated; but noir was generally a semi-conscious product, made by artists who could feel nagging them inside the anxieties of a new life in the city but not quite put to words. So we got feverish dreams intuited from a restless sleep.

This is different. It comes from a long rich tradition of landscape painting, where the words (or images) are the expression of what has already been embodied. The painter impregnated with the outer images of everyday nature, reconstitutes reality on his scroll as the landscape of that interior heart-mind where the universe of myriad images dwells.

In other words: Hokusai did not paint Mt. Fuji because he thought it would look good, rather it looked good because he was meditating with his brush on the source of his life-world. Being able to see from inside, the result flowed out effortlessly, it floated on paper. So even though the landscapes are shown to be cascading up and down in forceful motions, our gaze is directed to the center of a profound repose that is immanent in all. The image itself is both the act of meditational devotion, and for us on the other end the space of contemplation.

So if we put Ugetsu to words it may seem pedantic, laborious. Yes, the pursuit of status and wealth is shown to be disastrous, but didn't we know already? Yes, eventually the soul is left with a lesson in humility, the acceptance of suffering and hard work - a work that unconditionally gives back, one of extraordinary humanity now. But if instead we contemplate on these notions using images the filmmaker has used to contemplate himself in painting them?

Look for the scene on a boat, we lose our characters from sight as they lose sight of themselves. Or later near the end, how the emptiness resonates when one of them sees for the first time the ruins of the illusionary world he has inhabited. It's a stunning accomplishment by a skilled artisan; we are always the Outer self, ignorant, desiring, our gaze deceived by folly like theirs, but eventually awakened when they are.

Ignore the voice-over that closes the film, it's a misstep and not a cinematic device. Allow this to sink deeper. When our potter is confronted with supernatural malice, temple bells chime in the soundtrack their reminder of Buddhist stillness in the face of mishap.

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