In 2012 the BFI (British Film Institute) polled 846 critics, programmers, academics and distributors to update their list of what, in the experts opinion, are the greatest Movies of all time (to date).
In 2014 I decided to watch them.
Number 50b (tied): Ugetsu Monogatari
There are a lot of tied films in this list, presumably because the voting pool is so small. In a worrying twist number 50b is foreign language and mid 20th century. Both traits it shares with the previously reviewed La Jetée. Fortunately this one conforms to the norms of cinema far better.
It appears that the movie is based on a Japanese book, with which I am unfamiliar. It follows the 16th century stories of two brothers and their families through a civil way and how their paths diverge and lives change.
An artistic film in many ways I was surprised not to be blown away by the film. It was simple and utilitarian. The subplots where poorly executed and the twist of a ghost lover was obvious from miles away. Admittedly it was shocking at points with the implied rape of one wife and her descent into prostitution however the film shared one thing in common with modern movies. I struggled to care about the characters.
RATINGS (at the time of publishing)
IMDB rate the film at 8.1. I would take it far lower. I have rather painted myself into a corner with what I now think was a over generous 7 for La Jetée so and stuck with awarding this 7 also. If I had a choice this film would be watched above the other.
Rotten Tomatoes rate the movie at a ludicrous 100%, i am afraid i have to be be far more punitive and give 71% to represent is superiority over La Jetée
Certainly a far better film the La Jetée my previous rating now feels way too high. An interesting film but not a classic in this reviewers opinion.
The next film on the list will be number 50c (again!) Thankfully this time its in English…but silent, it is 1931s City Lights.
You watch Ugetsu Monogatari for yourself right here!