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Two films by Mizoguchi #3 (Masters of Cinema) in April

Eureka Entertainment have announced the UK DVD release of their third Kenji Mizoguchi double-bill Ugetsu Monogatari + Oyu-Sama as part of their Masters of Cinema Series on 21st April 2008 priced at £24.99. The third in a series of four double-bill releases, this set pairs one of Mizoguchi's most respected and well known films, Ugetsu Monogatari, with a lesser known rarity, Oyu-sama -- both on DVD in the UK for the very first time.

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 Ueda Akinari, the film's release continued Mizoguchi's introduction to the West, where it was nominated for an Oscar (for Best Costume Design) and won the the Venice Film Festival Silver Lion award (for Best Direction).

In 16th century Japan, amidst the pandemonium of civil war, potter Genjuro (Mori Masayuki) and samurai-aspirant Tobei (Ozawa Sakae) 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: Genjuro by the ghostly charm of Lady Wakasa (Kyo Machiko); Tobei by the dream of military glory.

Famed for its meticulously orchestrated long takes and its subtle blending of realistic period reconstruction and lyrical supernaturalism, Ugetsu Monogatari is an intensely poetic tragedy that consistently features on polls of the best films ever made.

Another literary adaptation – this time of a story by one of Japan's modern literary masters, novelist Tanizaki Jun'ichiro – Mizoguchi's Oyu-sama [Miss Oyu] is a poignant and contemplative tale of two sisters and their ill-fated relationship with the same man. At the core is Mizoguchi-regular Tanaka Kinuyo (who also stars in Ugetsu Monogatari) as the eponymous Oyu, 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.

The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present these films for the first time on DVD in the UK.

Features include:

  • 2 x disc special edition containing new film restorations of both films.
  • New and improved English subtitles.
  • Video discussions about both Ugetsu Monogatari and Oyu-sama by acclaimed Japanese film expert/critic, festival programmer, and filmmaker Tony Rayns.
  • Original theatrical trailers.
  • 56-page booklet featuring writing by Keiko I. McDonald (author of Mizoguchi and editor of Ugetsu) and award-winning translations of Ueda Akinari's 'The Reed-Choked House' and 'A Serpent's Lust', tales adapted by Mizoguchi in Ugetsu Monogatari.

Last updated: 19/04/2018 00:05:53

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