Japan | 97 min.
black & white
• Newly exclusively restored high-definition transfer of Ugetsu monogatari in 1080p
• Mizoguchi’s Oyū-sama (also in 1080p on the Blu-ray)
• Optional English subtitles on both features
• Tony Rayns video discussions of Ugetsu monogatari [9:00] and Oyû-sama [13:00]
• Original Japanese and Spanish theatrical trailers for Ugetsu monogatari
• Box set includes a 344-PAGE BOOK compiling all of the content from the individual booklets of our initial DVD Mizoguchi releases
Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953
Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu monogatari [Tales of the Rain and Moon] is a highly acclaimed masterwork of Japanese cinema. Based on a pair of 18th century ghost stories by Akinari Ueda, the film’s release continued Mizoguchi’s introduction to the West, where it was nominated for an Oscar and won the the Venice Film Festival’s Silver Lion award (for Best Direction).
In 16th century Japan, amidst the pandemonium of civil war, potter Genjurô (Masayuki Mori) and samurai-aspirant Tôbei (Sakae Ozawa) set out with their wives in search of wealth and military glory respectively. Two parallel tales ensue when the men are lured from their wives: Genjurô by the ghostly charm of Lady Wakasa (Machiko Kyô); Tôbei by the dream of military renown.
Famed for its meticulously orchestrated long takes and subtle blending of realistic period reconstruction with lyrical supernaturalism, Ugetsu monogatari is an intensely poetic tragedy that consistently features on polls of the best films ever made. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Mizoguchi’s classic alongside the lesser known Oyū-sama [Miss Oyû] in a special Blu-ray edition, with both films in 1080p HD on Blu-ray for the first time anywhere in the world.
Another literary adaptation – this time of a story by one of Japan’s modern literary masters, novelist Tanizaki Jun’ichirô – Mizoguchi’s Oyû-sama [Miss Oyû, 1951] is a poignant and contemplative tale of two sisters and their ill-fated relationship with the same man. At the core is Mizoguchi-regular Kinuyo Tanaka (who also stars in Ugetsu monogatari) as the eponymous Oyû, the older sister who allows marital customs to dictate the lives of those caught up in this complex love triangle.
Continuing the director’s fascination with the relationship between affairs of the heart and the social mores that shape and sometimes destroy them, Mizoguchi transforms his subject matter into the realm of the transcendental through the use of long, mobile shots – an approach that reaches its apotheosis in a take of almost six minutes — infused with humanity and emotion.