Ugetsu (1953)

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Ugetsu or Ugetsu Monogatari is a 1953 black-and-white Japanese film directed by Kenji Mizoguchi and based on stories in Ueda Akinari's book of the same name. It is a ghost story and an example of the jidaigeki (period drama) genre. Set in Azuchi-Momoyama period Japan, it stars Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyo. It is one of Mizoguchi's most celebrated films, regarded by critics as a masterwork of Japanese cinema and a definitive piece during Japan's Golden Age of Film. Along with Akira Kurosawa's 1950 film Rashomon, Ugetsu is credited with having popularized Japanese cinema in the West.

In 2004, Roger Ebert called Ugetsu "one of the greatest of all films", writing that "At the end of Ugetsu, aware we have seen a fable, we also feel curiously as if we have witnessed true lives and fates." Director Martin Scorsese has also listed it as one of his favourite films of all time.

Ugetsu won the Silver Lion Award for Best Direction at the Venice Film Festival in 1953. The night before, Mizoguchi, believing that if the film did not win an award the shame would prevent him from returning to Japan, stayed in his hotel room and prayed. In Japan it was named No. 3 in Kinema Junpo's Best Ten for Japanese films of 1953. and won awards for Art Direction and for Sound at the 8th Mainichi Film Awards. It also won an award for Cinematography from the ministry of Education. The film appeared in Sight and Sound magazine's top ten critics poll of the greatest movies ever made, which is held once every decade, in 1962 and 1972. In 2000, The Village Voice newspaper ranked Ugetsu at No. 29 on their list of the 100 best films of the 20th century.

(Summary from Wikipedia)

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