September 13, 2006

Dipping Into the Canon

ugetsu_monogatari.jpgYesterday, Cinecultist and our friend the Art Flick Chick Kristi did a little movie viewing of the healthy vegetable variety. Film Forum has been running a series of Kenji Mizoguchi movies and we caught an early evening screening of Ugetsu. A medieval Japanese ghost story and war profiteering cautionary tale, Ugetsu is about two close peasant families who each try to make a social order change during a civil war. There's so much of this movie that is amazingly atmospheric, despite the obvious constraints of making a period, supernatural story in a 1953 movie studio. Also, the actors of this era like Machiko Kyo, who was in Rashomon also, or Masayuki Mori, another big actor during that time, are incredibly expressive. Even the barest glance communicates so much unease. Here was a movie going experience that CC expected to be "good for us" and happily, it was.

Ugetsu is available on a Criterion Collection disc, though obviously Cinecultist always recommends seeing films like this projected when possible, rather than on a small, home screen. By the way, Ugetsu was one of Time magazine's All Time 100 Best Movies. Richard Corliss thinks it has "one of the great tracking shots in cinema history." That's not faint praise.

The Film Forum series runs all of next week as well, with a different Mizoguchi playing almost every day. Cinecultist is going to try to squeeze a few more in to our busy viewing schedule and we recommend you do the same.

Posted by karen at September 13, 2006 4:34 PM