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.
A loose adaptation of Hamlet, "The Night Banquet" is set in an empire in chaos. The Emperor, the Empress, the Crown Prince, the Minister and the General all have their own enemies they would like to finish off at a night banquet.
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
After her first encounter with the Chairman, Chiyo is shown running from the hanamachi of Gion, through the red Torii gate trails of Fushimi Inari to a shrine where she gives coins as an offering. In reality, not only is Fushimi Inari several miles from Gion, and therefore an inconceivable location for a small girl to make a round trip to on foot, its gates form a circuitous path on the side of a mountain and do not lead anywhere outside the shrine itself. See more »
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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