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Memoirs of a Geisha

Watched it with Ms Clover yesterday afternoon after church. Based on Arthur Golden's exclusive and spellbinding published interview with a geisha who has offered an illusive glance into Japan's oldest art of entertainment - the art of Geisha.

The entire feel of the film was almost incredible: the colors, the scenes and the on-screen presence of Zhang Zi Yi, Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li, Ken Watanabe and the talented child actor, Suzuka Ohgo, who protrayed the young Chiyo. The fact that there was a good story plot to begin with and for the faithful followers of the book, as much as I would like to see more, the whole entire film was very well paced and definitely struck a poignant note to all who watches the sad tale of a life as a geisha. As Michelle Yeoh (Mameha) said later in the film - "they do not become geishas because they want to but that they have no choice."

Director Rob Marshall's vision of the olden Japan in the face of a cultural invasion from the west has aligned perfectly with the scenes painted in Arther Golden's book. The rich art and tapestry of high-class entertainment in the developing mechanical era of Japan where they have just opened the doors to the visitors of the West, the wonderful blend and contrast of the olden vs the new Japan and amidst the great changes, we were drawn into the story of a girl whose life has been changed 'by the wind'.

On discovery channel a few months ago, I've watched a documentary on the life as a geisha. Geishas are one of the great arts that people still associate Japan with (along with Kabuki also) and the art of erotic entertainment was fast disappearing behind the face of a very fast paced techno-crazed Japan and only a very minute few still kept the traditional art alive. Read more about Geishas here.

One character in the film struck me the most was Gong Li as the beautiful, spiteful yet strangely pitiful Hatsumomo. Since her roles has always been confined to the oppressed feminine sturggling with the tides of time, this role for her was most 'liberating'. A woman who knows her goals in life but yet, still unable to escape the oppression of being just a simple woman free to love the person she wants to love. It was a very sad end as the audience see the back view of Hatsumomo stumbling in aimless wander in the cold morning in the geisha district.

On the lighter side, this film celebrates the women in their roles throughout history. You see how Geishas were 'manipulated' by their dannas or clients to build the bride of connection with the relations of the West and although their contributions were seemingly insignificant but we all know that without them, perhaps the world may not be as it is now. It is also a time where the traditional women of the olden Japan finding a voice of their own and through the beauty of art, dances, singing and conversations, they have found a place in history as well.

One very significant scene that stuck to me was the very last scene @ the garden where Sayuri (Zhang Zi Yi) met up with the Chairman (Ken Watanabe) and as they strolled down the beautiful garden, the camera pans to their reflections in the rippling pond and an instant feeling of cinematography genius by Rob Marshall was appreciated - it is all but a passing illusion, a place in time to pass. With the closing dialogue by Shizuko Hoshi (the voiceover narration of Sayuri in the film) of "Geishas are wives of the night but what more can one ask for..." we see the young Chiyo once again in a runing shot towards the temple where we remembered the wish and prayer she offered there when she was a little girl who has just been touched by a kindness of a gentleman on the bridge.

Do find time to watch this beautiful piece of work :)

Hi there, we watched this too, and indeed, we found it a beautiful piece of work, albeit the opposing views from various sources. It was the use of imagery that really impressed us. We were totally immersed the whole way through!

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  • 15/12 :: Proud owners of our own Loft!

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  • To serve more efficiently in God's kingdom

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