This is the second year in which I am teaching a course on Japanese film in English and I will begin the course with Kenji Mizoguchi's sublime Ugetsu. I was reviewing the reading I assign with the film, Phillip Lopate's essay, "Ugetsu:From the Other Shore." Although I have seen 5-6 films by Mizoguchi, I hadn't seen The Story Of The Last Chrysanthemums (1939) yet and it is the film that Lopate singles out as the film where, "he perfected his signature 'flowing scroll,' 'one-shot-one-scene' style of long-duration takes, which, by keeping the camera well back, avoiding close-ups, and linking the characters to their environment, generated hypnotic tension and psychological density." It is all that Lopate says and more. I can see that it was a prestige film at that time with all the elaborate sets, costumes, and long takes on the kabuki acting. It is also just under two and a half hours, perhaps, adding tot he prestige. this allows Mizoguchi to draw out the performances form his cast and develop the story at a pace that showcases the director's artistry. Luckily, there are still several films available for me to study in the future. Mizoguchi remains one of my all-time favorite directors.