Film - Feature | January 13 | 7 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
In sixteenth-century Japan, with the pandemonium of civil wars a looming presence in their lives, the potter Genjuro and his wife long to be rich and safe, respectively. But artistic vanity draws Genjuro into the paradisiacal realm of a phantom enchantress. In a parallel tale, Genjuros brother-in-law Tobei, out for military glory, achieves a generals rank for his fraudulent exploitsanother acrid apparition. In Ugetsu, the all-too-real and the supernatural move steadily toward each other; a boat ride on foggy waters foreshadows the horizontal unity Mizoguchi will give his two worlds. For, just as his images overflow with lifecharacters forever running off toward more life outside the frameso this reality flows into the phantom universe as well. Mizoguchi builds an eerie netherworld entirely out of what he is given in this one: shadows and lighting, decor and texture, and the graceful chicanery of human desire.