IMDb > Sisters of the Gion (1936)

Sisters of the Gion (1936) More at IMDbPro »Gion no shimai (original title)

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Release Date:
November 1979 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Two geisha sisters lead a hard life in the Gion district of Kyoto. After one of them feels obliged to support a bankrupt businessman, the other sister sets up various schemes to get rid of him. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
One of Mizoguchi's more famous socially conscious feminist films See more (14 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Isuzu Yamada ... O-Mocha

Yôko Umemura ... Umekichi
Benkei Shiganoya ... Shimbei Furusawa
Eitarô Shindô ... Kudo, the drygoods merchant
Taizô Fukami ... Kimura
Fumio Okura ... Jurakudo, the antiques dealer
Namiko Kawajima
Reiko Aoi
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sakurako Iwama ... Omasa Kudô
Shizuko Takizawa

Directed by
Kenji Mizoguchi 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Aleksandr Kuprin  novel "The Pit"
Kenji Mizoguchi 
Yoshikata Yoda 

Produced by
Masaichi Nagata .... producer
 
Cinematography by
Minoru Miki 
 
Film Editing by
Tatsuko Sakane 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Kazuo Mori .... second assistant director
Akira Sakamoto .... third assistant director
Kôichi Takagi .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Hisashi Kase .... sound
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Kazuo Kishi .... gaffer
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Gion no shimai" - Japan (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
69 min | Argentina:95 min | USA:95 min | Japan:96 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Eion Sound System)

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One of Mizoguchi's more famous socially conscious feminist films, 14 October 2014
Author: mevmijaumau from Croatia

Sisters of the Gion is a story about two geisha sisters making a living in the Gion district of Tokyo. It's inspired by Aleksandr Kuprin's novel The Pit (Yama) and is directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, who became famous for the films of this kind, windows into the lives of people of lower social classes, specifically women, often prostitutes. This is among his more well-known films dealing with the topic. It was remade in 1956 by Hiromasa Nomura.

This movie sort of reminds me of Ozu's films, in the sense that the camera is often positioned low, there's no action and the film appears to be a character study or a slice-of-life movie. Later it even becomes a mild revenge tale, which is admittedly a bit more passionate than Ozu's stories. The two sisters' conflicting opinions reflect the Japanese identity crisis between tradition and Western influences. That's why Umekichi is a submissive, traditionally raised geisha while Omocha is considerably more modern, wears Western clothing in her free time, and is more practical. Although she's shown to be a manipulative intrigant, she isn't seen in a negative light, but instead Mizoguchi places the blame on society itself.

The image quality is foggy as is to be expected from a film this old, but despite that you can easily sense Mizoguchi's talent for framing shots and painting an interesting picture of the Gion district. The soundtrack, which is played only during the credits, is unusually lively and playful for a serious film like this.

I honestly don't think this is one of Mizoguchi's better films. In fact, even though the runtime is just about over an hour, I found it to be a bit of a bore. However, you can't take away that it was a bold film in its day and age, and that the theme of conflict between Japanese traditions and Western influences seemed to be ahead of their time. This movie is from 1936, while movies by Ozu and Kurosawa, who often dealt with the same topic, are from the '50s and '60s.

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