Even Kurosawa looked up to Kenji Mizoguchi. Born in 1898, Mizoguchi was already experienced in directing by the time the War was over, and was heralded by Cahiers du cinéma writers like André Bazin and Jacques Rivette because of his expert usage of objective-reality-championing long-takes and mise-en-scène. He had previously perfected his (self-explanatory) shooting style: 'one shot – one scene,' but it wasn't until 1953—only three years before his death—that he used it in crafting his most celebrated film: Ugetsu monogatori.
Shortened in Anglicization, the title translates as 'Tales of Moonlight and Rain,' referring rather aptly to the film's subject matter and atmosphere. Focusing on two peasant couples in 16th century Japan, the film chronicles personal obsessions and family life via rather unconventional means: a ghost story. Adding to its allure, the film shadows the line between striking realism and lyrical otherworldliness, which, along with the continual movements of its crane-mounted camera, creates a breathtaking flow of complexity amidst subtlety.
Film language that seems to create the mood it considers; the story and its style of telling are of one piece.Roger Ebert, 2004, Chicago Sun Times