Ugetsu Monogatari / Oyû-Sama


Another fine double in Eureka’s invaluable Mizoguchi series. Ugetsu Monogatari (literally, Tales Of Rain And The Moon) is recognised as a masterpiece not only in Mizoguchi’s career, but in all cinema – though the director himself was oddly disparaging about it. Based on two interwoven tales by the classic writer Ueda Akinari, it’s set in the 16th Century when Japan was being torn apart by squabbling warlords. Two villagers set out for a nearby town to trade their wares – but what awaits them will rip their lives apart. Mizoguchi’s graceful, meditative camera style lends quiet intensity to the drama. Oyû-sama is a lesser work – a novelett-ish story of a man’s obsession with his sister-in-law, only partly redeemed by Mizoguchi’s restraint and the presence of the great Kinuyo Tanaka as the in-law in question. From booklet to bonus footage, extras are excellent.


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