davidhare wrote:about Utamaro ...
I have huge problems with it. And rewatched it last night (from an ancient TV print.) Minoosuke Bando is rigid to the point of non-performance, and at best declamatory. The women (for all their fabulousness) don't really make any meaningful interaction with him. In short I find the movie hugely disappointing. And I certainly agree - this SHOULD have been a most personal movie of Mizo. I will add I really dislike Women of the Night (admittedly only viewed from a shitty old SBS copy.)
I also HATE the visual design - flat lighting, over utilized framing for different perspectives, and a seemingly complete absence of mise en scene. Or at least one which has any dynamic. This is - no - should have been a major Mizo, but it just falls in a heap to me.
This is a post from a while ago (and besides, no one asked me!), but I wanted to respond to it anyway as Utamaro
is one of my favorite films, and a very major work by this filmmaker in my opinion. Like some others here though, I've seen it only once.
The flatness, which David pointed out, is part of what I find so amazing, and relates very directly to the subject of painting. From the opening shot (one of the most glorious tracking shots in cinema, no?) to the final one, I was completely taken away by the delicate rhythms, that seem to me quite unique in Mizoguchi, and the almost unbearable richness of the lighting and framing.
There's as much mise en scene in this film as in Ugetsu
. It's just more subtle.
I should say too that the final shot, the paintings, is probably my personal favorite "moment" in all of cinema. Finally, the work within Utamaro comes flowing out...