309 Ugetsu

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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HerrSchreck
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#151 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed May 28, 2008 7:04 pm

It's utterly hilarious, and it actually works as a great piece of parody music. "Cat On The Grill" being of course more famous, and also by Helios.

Anyhoooo, back to Ugetsu.

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Shrew
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#152 Post by Shrew » Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:51 pm

Uhhhh... is there a 'state' to trust in Ugetsu? The only state I saw was some feuding warlords that caused horrific suffering for the common people. Not a state that's easy for anyone to trust, let alone Mizoguchi. The only character to come close to the state as a general relinquishes his position in order to return home.

If there is an argument per politics in Ugetsu it is thoroughly anti-state-- more akin to Thoreau or Rousseau. People should stop trying to get ahead in life and live simply with the land and what they have. That is the 'natural' order of things. Not shut up and do what you're told.

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dad1153
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#153 Post by dad1153 » Wed May 13, 2009 3:05 am

Watched this along with "Le Samouraï" over the weekend. Though not as devastating as "Sancho The Bailiff" (whose ending just crushed me!) "Ugetsu" packs an equally-potent and heartbreaking conclusion that compensates for the movie's weaker elements. I'm specifically talking about the Tobei/Ohama arc of the story, who basically become the Mertz's to the Ricardo's Genjurô/Miyagi main storyline. Eitarô Ozawa's portrayal of Tobei is just too broad and borderline slapstick to be taken seriously. His reunion with abandoned-wife-turned-prostitute Omaha (Mitsuko Mito) should have been a highlight, instead coming across as a check mark to cross out in Mizoguchi's 'to do' shooting script. Tony Rayns' commentary track explains that the Tobei/Ohama portions as they appear on the movie storyline was imposed on Mizoguchi by the producer, which is a shame because the rest of "Ugetsu" is an outstanding exercise in mood and great camera work. Machiko Kyô's Lady Wakasa is a movie ghost unlike any I've seen before ("Black Cat," etc.). She's both sensual but also deeply troubled and not the least bit evil or dangerous. Wakasa's seduction of the vulnerable and blinded-by-greed Genjurô (Masayuki Mori) reveals more about the evils lurking within the heart of the still-living human being than the simple longing for unfulfilled affection of the woman's spirit. Kinuyo Tanaka is excellent as the devoted wife of Genjurô (and mother to his child). Her voice-over from beyond the grave at the end is deeply moving and has influenced many movies/TV shows since (it was recently used on a "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode in which Logan hears the voice of a dead girlfriend telling him she's not dead). Throw in excellent camera work and cinematography and "Ugetsu" delivers most of the goods Mizoguchi set out to deliver. Too bad they didn't include the director's original vision of the Tobei/Ohama destiny as an equally dark parallel to the Genjurô/Miyagi storyline.

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HistoryProf
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#154 Post by HistoryProf » Sun Aug 30, 2009 12:59 am

So i'm an admitted neophyte in terms of my exposure to Japanese cinema, nearly all of which is limited to what Criterion has released. I never really know what to expect....especially with these overwhelmingly lauded "masterpieces" whose descriptions contain phrases like "hailed as one of the greatest films ever made!" I mean really, how can anything live up to that? Such it was then that I sat down to watch Ugetsu tonight, having dvr'd it from a TCM airing a few weeks ago. I now wish I had the Criterion at my disposal so I could immediately re-watch it with the commentary.

I agree with many views here on the Tobei story seeming a bit off...it felt jarring in spots, especially the overly clownish episode after he's awarded the horse and vassals. it was all a bit much and clashed mightily with the eerie beauty of the Tanaka scenes. However, I have to say that as the son took the dish of food Tobei's wife brought to them to his mother's grave, goosebumps traveled up my entire body...just enveloped me. It's hard to explain, but there was a quiet power to the film that caught up with me at the end that more than overcame the silly samurai subplot. I'm also terribly intrigued by this documentary you have all discussed in all its faulty glory....but I wonder how 2.5 hours of fawning can really be stomached. That's a really really long time to sit and watch people talk about not much.

So I was left wondering, is this the greatest film i've ever seen? probably not...but it was pretty fucking fantastic. I've kind of decided that "the greatest film of all time" is an apparition...a chimera that really just doesn't exist in any form. Each entry into the pantheon of "great" entries into the contest all seem to have merit, but how do you really choose? I think I like the idea of having one for each day of the week....month of the year....season....etc. I'm not sure where I'd put Ugetsu...but I think it's worthy of admission.

So what's next for the now deflowered Mizoguchi virgin? Sansho?

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HistoryProf
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#155 Post by HistoryProf » Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:03 am

dad1153 wrote:Too bad they didn't include the director's original vision of the Tobei/Ohama destiny as an equally dark parallel to the Genjurô/Miyagi storyline.
Can you - or anyone else - elaborate on this point? what exactly did Mizoguchi intend that was cleansed by producers? My apologies if I missed it earlier in the thread...but as far as I can tell there are references that it was supposed to be 'darker' - but in what way?

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dad1153
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#156 Post by dad1153 » Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:10 am

HistoryProf wrote:I have to say that as the son took the dish of food Tobei's wife brought to them to his mother's grave, goosebumps traveled up my entire body...just enveloped me. It's hard to explain, but there was a quiet power to the film that caught up with me at the end that more than overcame the silly samurai subplot.

So what's next for the now deflowered Mizoguchi virgin? Sansho?
Abso-freaking-lutely. Those goosebumps you felt at the end of "Ugetsu" are felt throughout "Sansho," right until (and during) a mother of a powerful ending that will stay with you for as long as you live whether you like the movie or not, guaranteed. I started with "Sansho," then "Ugetsu" and I'm presently going through the Mizoguchi Eclipse Box Set. Definitely worth getting "Sansho" if you liked what "Ugetsu" gave you.

I'd need to re-rent the Criterion DVD of "Ugetsu" to re-listen to the commentary track to pinpoint the specific info about the Tobei arc of the story suffering from producer tampering. Sorry, but it's in there if you care to Netflix/purchase the Criterion disc.

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hearthesilence
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#157 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:44 pm

Looks like the film has been restored by the Film Foundation and others, as it will be screening at the NYFF. Sadly, it seems like ideal film elements are lost forever, as the restoration was made from a master positive print and a dupe negative. I mentioned this in another thread when I saw the U.S. premiere of the restoration for Late Spring but the original negatives for all Japanese films from this era typically don't exist - the government decreed that all nitrate prints/negatives be destroyed as an issue of public safety, so generally the best materials tend to be dupes.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#158 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:44 am

Sometimes there are traces of comedy that work in Mizoguchi -- especially in the tragic Crucified Lovers/ A Story from Chikamatsu (my favorite Mizoguchi film) and the melodramatic Uwasa no onna (no adequate English name).

Mizoguchi himself decided to graft the imported de Maupassant subplot into Ugetsu -- and I don't see that there was any real value added by it (except padding the length) regardless of any producer meddling. The film would have been far better without this extraneous distraction.

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manicsounds
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#159 Post by manicsounds » Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:39 pm

4K restored Ugetsu Blu-ray - March 24th 2017 by Kadokawa Japan.

Extras are a Martin Scorsese interview, before/after restoration featurette, trailers.

Possibly a Criterion Blu-ray upgrade in the future?

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#160 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:52 am

manicsounds wrote:4K restored Ugetsu Blu-ray - March 24th 2017 by Kadokawa Japan.
Subs?

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feckless boy
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#161 Post by feckless boy » Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:34 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:
manicsounds wrote:4K restored Ugetsu Blu-ray - March 24th 2017 by Kadokawa Japan.
Subs?
According to Amazon, it will only have Japanese subtitles.

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goblinfootballs
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#162 Post by goblinfootballs » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:59 pm

manicsounds wrote:4K restored Ugetsu Blu-ray - March 24th 2017 by Kadokawa Japan.

Extras are a Martin Scorsese interview, before/after restoration featurette, trailers.

Possibly a Criterion Blu-ray upgrade in the future?
It's now featured on Janus' main page as coming soon, so likely a tour before an upgrade.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#163 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:37 pm

Will show at the NYC Film Forum starting March 3. Will probably get a Criterion release in late summer.

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swo17
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#164 Post by swo17 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:55 pm


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movielocke
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#165 Post by movielocke » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:25 pm

an essay by film critic Phillip Lopate (Blu-ray and DVD) and three short stories that influenced Mizoguchi in making the film (Blu-ray only)
The original DVD issue had the large booklet with the three short stories.

I wonder if this implies a new way Criterion plans on upgrading DVD digipacks with hefty booklets

Bluray release gets a new digipak with a new printing of the booklet. DVD gets issued as a keepcase (rather than a digipack) and a pared down leaflet with just an essay.

Remember, the original Ugetsu was one of the most unique of the digipacks, in that it was presented like a two film box set, with separate holders and disc art for the feature film and the feature doc (although unlike the bigger box sets, the feature documentary wasn't given a spine number despite being presented like the feature docs in those sets) and of course the large booklet. Since the Bluray is only one disc (at the moment), it does look like we'll lose that aspect of the digipack.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#166 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed May 10, 2017 11:47 am


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Ribs
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#167 Post by Ribs » Mon May 15, 2017 7:57 pm


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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#168 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue May 16, 2017 10:23 am

Is one actually going to notice much improvement over the MOC BD on a mere 50-inch plasma TV? (Looking at the screen caps, I'm guessing not much),

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Moshrom
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#169 Post by Moshrom » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:21 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:Is one actually going to notice much improvement over the MOC BD on a mere 50-inch plasma TV?
One should, as the main difference between the two is the improvement in stability, which static comparison images can't show.

Here are some motion comparisons: 1, 2, 3.

Could anyone with the Criterion blu-ray share the transfer notes included in the booklet?

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Never Cursed
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#170 Post by Never Cursed » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:27 pm

Moshrom! You're back and posting on your blog again!

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DarkImbecile
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#171 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:30 am

Moshrom wrote:Could anyone with the Criterion blu-ray share the transfer notes included in the booklet?
Ugetsu 'About the Transfer' wrote:Ugetsu is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1... Supervised by Masahiro Miyajima and Martin Scorsese, this new 4K digital restoration was undertaken from a 35mm fine-grain positive and a 35mm duplicate negative at Cineric Inc. by The Film Foundation and Kadokawa Corporation, with funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The original monaural soundtrack was remastered from a 35mm optical soundtrack print and restored by Audio Mechanics in Burbank California.

Orlac
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Re: 309 Ugetsu

#172 Post by Orlac » Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:32 am

This is a VERY pedantic question, but...has Criterion put a new copyright notice on the film itself?

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Mr Sausage
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Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953)

#173 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:23 am

DISCUSSION ENDS MONDAY, March 26th.

Members have a two week period in which to discuss the film before it's moved to its dedicated thread in The Criterion Collection subforum. Please read the Rules and Procedures.

This thread is not spoiler free. This is a discussion thread; you should expect plot points of the individual films under discussion to be discussed openly. See: spoiler rules.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

I encourage members to submit questions, either those designed to elicit discussion and point out interesting things to keep an eye on, or just something you want answered. This will be extremely helpful in getting discussion started. Starting is always the hardest part, all the more so if it's unguided. Questions can be submitted to me via PM.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953)

#174 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:20 am

Mizoguchi is probably my favorite director whose body of films leaves me with feelings of (more than just occasional) ambivalence. Ugetsu embodies my problems with KM's work. I love most of the film (especially all the parts with ghosts) -- but find the imported (from France) would-be samurai sub-plot very unsatisfying. Still, I prefer this to Sansho, which I find almost totally bosh plotwise despite its often lovely visuals.

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knives
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Re: Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953)

#175 Post by knives » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:02 pm

That's a fair bit kinder than me (though I agree that this is leagues ahead of Sansho which I find to be actively bad). Ambivalence is probably the right word though as I don't find Mizoguchi to have any serious missteps here, but it comes together into something that is only an okay product without any real weight to it. There's other films by him that find worse for either thematic or narrative reasons, but they at least get a reaction while I find this to be damning in its quiet pleasantness.

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