In the 1920s, 9-year-old Chiyo gets sold to a geisha house. There, she is forced into servitude, receiving nothing in return until the house's ruling hierarchy determines if she is of high enough quality to service the clientele -- men who visit and pay for conversation, dance and song. After rigorous years of training, Chiyo becomes Sayuri, a geisha of incredible beauty and influence. Life is good for Sayuri, but World War II is about to disrupt the peace.Written by
In defense of the film after the controversial casting, Zhang spoke: "A director is only interested in casting someone he believes is appropriate for a role. For instance, my character had to go from age 15 to 35; she had to be able to dance, and she had to be able to act, so he needed someone who could do all that. I also think that regardless of whether someone is Japanese or Chinese or Korean, we all would have had to learn what it is to be a geisha, because almost nobody today knows what that means, not even the Japanese actors on the film. Geisha was not meant to be a documentary. I remember seeing in the Chinese newspaper a piece that said we had only spent six weeks to learn everything and that that was not respectful toward the culture. It's like saying that if you're playing a mugger, you have to rob a certain number of people. To my mind, what this issue is all about, though, is the intense historical problems between China and Japan. The whole subject is a land mine. Maybe one of the reasons people made such a fuss about Geisha was that they were looking for a way to vent their anger". See more »
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 »
[to Pumpkin after she led the Chairman to Sayuri and the Colonel]
How could you? You don't know what you have done!
But I do.
I do not understand. Why did you have to bring the Chairman?
Because I know how you feel about him.
So Hatsumomo did teach you to be cruel.
A long time ago, you took something from me... the only thing I'd ever truly wanted... Well, now you know how is feels.
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No studio logos are shown at the beginning. They however appear shortened after the end credits and are accompanied by the film's score. See more »
"A story like mine should never be told..." but it was a pleasure to hear it!!
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha when I read the book. This movie brought many of the scenes to life, adding in one new one that contributed to the drama. The movie did a decent amount of justice to the characters in the book by Arthur Golden.
Although many things were left out of this movie, which happens with every movie that you turn into a book, it was very well done. John Williams did a beautiful job with the score, and the sets were elaborate and beautiful. There were a few technical aspects of the costuming and makeup that were wrong, but one would only notice if they were well versed in the culture of the geisha. If all you know about Geisha is that they wear white make-up and kimono, then you shouldn't have a problem with the minor details of the costuming and make up. They are both delightful, even if they are wrong in some circumstances.
As being one who does not know the difference between the Asian actors (meaning if they are Chinese, Japanese...etc), I thought they all did a wonderful job of portraying the characters. The actors and actresses bring the characters from Golden's book to life.
It was a delightful movie. I highly suggest it to everyone to see. There is romance, drama, a touch of comedy, and a look into the world of the Geisha. Although, it is only a tiny glance, as the world of the Geisha is much more complex than anyone could ever imagine, it brings this secret world of Kyoto to life.
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