During China's Tang dynasty the emperor has taken the princess of a neighboring province as wife. She has borne him two sons and raised his eldest. Now his control over his dominion is complete, including the royal family itself.
Famous film director Guido Contini struggles to find harmony in his professional and personal lives, as he engages in dramatic relationships with his wife, his mistress, his muse, his agent, and his mother.
In 1929 an impoverished nine-year-old named Chiyo from a fishing village is sold to a geisha house in Kyoto's Gion district and subjected to cruel treatment from the owners and the head geisha Hatsumomo. Her stunning beauty attracts the vindictive jealousy of Hatsumomo, until she is rescued by and taken under the wing of Hatsumomo's bitter rival, Mameha. Under Mameha's mentorship, Chiyo becomes the geisha named Sayuri, trained in all the artistic and social skills a geisha must master in order to survive in her society. As a renowned geisha she enters a society of wealth, privilege, and political intrigue. As World War II looms Japan and the geisha's world are forever changed by the onslaught of history. Written by
Youki Kudoh revealed in an interview that her grandmother had suffered much heartache when her husband took a Geisha as a mistress during their marriage. See more »
When Chiyo's virginity is discussed, you can see Mother smoke cigarettes (in a holder). During the scene the length of the cigarette varies. See more »
[while little Chiyo is on the train to the hanamachi]
My mother always said my sister, Satsu was like wood. As rooted to the earth as a sakura tree... But she told me I was like water... Water can carve its way through stone. And when trapped, water makes a new path.
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personally, i don't know what everyone was so anxious about before viewing this movie. i had heard a lot of praise about the cinematography and the depth and emotion of the storyline. who cares if the actors were of different race? i know a lot of people will take offense to that, but being an Asian-American myself, it didn't bother me too much, since it wasn't what i thought of while watching the movie. who has time to think of different dialects and someone being Chinese when a beautiful story of the life of a geisha is being told.
i thought maybe the movie would not live up to the book, but i felt the adaptation was done well. although some of the casting could have been done better, i got chills from mother, angry at hatsumomo, and grew respect for the character of mameha, just as i had from the book. the movie did a fine job establishing the highly disciplined world of a geisha, a world where many sacrifices are to be made.
all in all, the movie was fantastic, and if people could just look beyond the issue of worrying about the nationality of a character who is supposed to be Japanese (and to me, its not a huge issue) I'm sure you will enjoy the movie.
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