Memoirs of a Geisha


Action / Drama / Romance

Plot summary

Uploaded by: OTTO


Top cast

Michelle Yeoh Photo
Michelle Yeoh as Mameha
Ted Levine Photo
Ted Levine as Colonel Derricks
Ziyi Zhang Photo
Ziyi Zhang as Sayuri
Li Gong Photo
Li Gong as Hatsumomo
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.00 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 25 min
P/S 3 / 7
2.00 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 25 min
P/S 5 / 25

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ma-cortes7 / 10

Good adaptation of famous novel with complete oriental casting

Chiyo(Suzuka) is a child who lives along with parents(Mako) a miserable life in a impoverished fishing village.She is sold to a Geisha house(Tsai Chin) in Kyoto suffering misfortunes,odds,,brutal treatment and humiliations specially by the principal Geisha, Hatsumomo(Gong Li). One time grown up(Zhang Ziyi)she is saved by his rival Mameha(Michelle Yeoh).She'll work in laborious activities until achieve being the Japan's most celebrated Geisha confronting against the jealousy contender(Gong Li). From the starting point are described the emotions,records and infancy images; continuing with the adult epoch and her success as Geisha until the second world war and after time in that protagonist tries going the ancient way of life,thus problems are always cropping up among conflict of tradition and modernism. The picture is plenty of inventive and stimulating images and develops a complex human drama,love story and is pretty moving. The film is a nice rendition of a famed bestseller by Arthur Golden and lavishly produced by Spielberg and Douglas Wick. It's colorfully and stunningly photographed by Dion Beebe.Brilliant and luxurious costume design was realized by Collem Atwoodand,besides wonderful Japanese houses and gardens with lush production design. Evocative and atmospheric music with oriental sounds by the master John Williams who in that year(2004) made four excellent musical scores:War of the words,Star Wars,Munich and this movie. The motion picture is rightly directed by Rob Marshall. Well worth watching for the cinematography and gowns. Rating :Above average

Reviewed by Chris_Docker6 / 10

A tantalising taste of something it's not

It would be lovely to find a beautiful verse for the spirit of a Geisha's Memoirs.

The butterfly is perfuming - It's wings in the scent - Of the orchid.

This haiku (a 17 syllable epigrammatic verse) by one of Japan's greatest poets (Basho Matsuo) seems at first glance to have little to it. So runs much of Japanese art, perfected to painstaking rules, yet requiring a degree of learning simply to appreciate, soul-piercing when understood. In Memoirs of a Geisha, we must be forgiven for expecting a glimpse, some aid to understanding, some hint of passion, for the difficult-to-fathom and obscure world of Japan, of geisha, representatives of artistic excellence and recipients of passionate devotion, and maybe some reference to what was a less glamorous side to their institution (and one personified in the Western stereotype).

The filmmakers went to considerable lengths - top Asian actors, a decorated director and cinematographer, music by the multi-accoladed John Williams; and the film follows on from the hugely successful novel. So does it stand up?

Firstly, it is visually stunning, not only with rural and urban scenery rarely seen in the West but with impressive use of colour and lighting. In one scene, as Sayuri makes her debut in a leading part at the theatre, we are treated to a fabulous dramatic entrance suggesting classical posture and make-up. It is the bright lights and fast cameras that director Rob Marshall used to such effect in Chicago. We follow a young girl from the time she is sold by her parents, through her apprenticeship and graduation as a geisha, and then through the onset of war and its aftermath. It has the exotic appeal of, say, the King and I or other successful movies that use an unknown culture to bring spice to a simple love story. It will delight many audiences. But as anything more serious it plummets as fast as a wingless bird.

Although there are moments of tension, such as the theatre performance, the sumo wrestling match or the jealous rage of a competitor geisha, much of the pacing (especially in the first third) is lacklustre, like someone telling a story at a continuous speed (much of the background is told in voice-over). Opportunities for dramatic excitement are easily missed with such a format. Telling the story takes much time: there is little left for character development, so it is hard to identify with the pain and triumphs of even our heroine.

A very modest brush with Japanese culture shows this movie lacks authenticity in its most crucial aspects. You cannot cast a film star in a part that requires a lifetime study or the equivalent of a university degree without considerable technical finesse. It would be like asking Richard Gere to dance a couple of scenes from Nureyev. But it gets worse. Everyday details are sloppy and unreflective of Japanese culture. Most obvious perhaps, the make-up employed by the film's 'geisha' is instantly recognisable as quite ordinary, not the sort that takes hours to apply.

In A Beautiful Mind, director Ron Howard took a mysterious subject (mathematics) and made it exciting to non-mathematicians. Other directors have dealt similarly with obscure arts or strange worlds and let us glimpse hitherto unknown regions, often adding a love story for good measure. Producer Steven Spielberg however, (in the film's production notes) confesses to a different objective: "I was very moved by the love story, by the rivalry . . . and by the test of friendship." Japanese culture is mentioned only in passing. The aim was not to introduce us to something new but something that's "relevant to people in every county."

They gave up before they started. Instead of highly developed Japanese traditions, we get lowest common denominators, and even the 'love story' fails to pass muster as the context (a society in those days of arranged marriages) is imperfectly explained. It could be in America – just change the country, add a mix of oriental costumes and languages, plus homage to a well-known book (and lots of highly paid talent that sadly lacks artistic integrity) and you have a winning Hollywood formula.

It is one thing to 'include' lurid details such auctioning a maidenhead – it is another thing altogether to miss the main point.

But has the movie really missed such an opportunity? It might be worth examining, even to see if this film is actually an insult to Japanese culture.

Ancient Japanese entertainers would perform for the nobility and some females even became concubines to the emperor. The first female geisha were simply dancers or musicians. They soon became popular enough to be able to steal clients from courtesans. They flourished as artists and entertainers and soon became fashion leaders – a bit like western 'supermodels.' In today's Japan, geishas are accorded considerable respect for their accomplishments and what they represent. Being in the presence of a geisha is a remarkable experience – as if royalty had suddenly walked into the room, one feels thrown against the wall with a sense of awe. A man simply seeking a beautiful courtesan or a mere hostess could find one at a fraction of the price.

Memoirs of a Geisha is a tantalising taste of something it's not. It neither informs nor satisfies, but entertains sumptuously if simplistically. It will please many less discerning audiences as well as critics or award voters who review a movie by means of DVD – it has a lush play of colour that will transfer to the small screen together with a low attention-span requirement that allows you to make the coffee. But it is about as far from the memoirs of any geisha as the instant coffee will be from the beautiful ritual of the Japanese tea ceremony. The film, like a Japanese haiku, doesn't seem to have much to it: unlike a Japanese haiku though, it really doesn't.

Reviewed by xiayun8 / 10

A worthy big screen experience

Going into the film, I had worries with all the slamming critics have given, even though I didn't read all of them in details. However, I'm happy to say it turns out to be one of more satisfying movie experiences of the year.

First I echo the sentiment that the film is simply technically perfect. The retro-mood it created had me immensed in the world of geisha from beginning to the end. It's very 1930 Shanghai like. The music score isn't as haunting as the one in CTHD, but it is still masterfully composed and fits in the background very well. It's worth seeing for the big screen experience alone. The story also never dragged, as each of the three parts flowed nicely. I normally don't like voice-over, but here it really held the movie together and helped to move the story along.

As for the accents, the problem has definitely been exaggerated. I was expecting a lot of unpleasant broken English to be spoken, but they all sounded fine to good, not just from the most fluent Michelle Yeoh, but Ken Watanabe, Youki Kudoh (who plays Pumpkin) and other supporting casts. Gong Li had a few awkward lines at the beginning, and Ziyi had more and is the one who had to try the hardest, but both pulled off admirably and didn't hurt their performances in the process.

Talking about performances, I think almost all of them did well. It's much more of an ensemble piece, and I was especially impressed by the young Sayuri and Ken Watanabe.

The main problem I have is with character development. It is a Cinderella story at heart, but the good and evil are too clear-cut and lack dimension. I also want to see more ups and downs for the competition between Ziyi and Gong Li. Gong did all she could, but the script didn't allow her to be a worthy opponent. Except for some verbal back-and-forth between the two and a few dirty tricks from Gong, there was no reason to believe why she was the most famous geisha in Japan before Ziyi arrived.

In addition, the Mother character is over-the-top and didn't fit the emotional aspect the film quite well, although she did provide some comical moments. The big dance scene had excellent buildup, but the execution of the dance felt flat. It lasted only about 30 seconds, while doubling that and making it more mesmerizing would have made the whole middle act more effective.

These flaws didn't overshadow the fact that what was put on screen worked for me. Will I be willing to watch it again with friends? In a heartbeat. Will I recommend it to others? Definitely. With that in mind, I give the film an A-.

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