Memoirs of a geisha – Colourful visual.

“A story like mine should never be told. For my world is  as forbidden as it is fragile. Without its mysteries it cannot survive. I certainly wasn’t born to the life of a geisha. Like so much in my strange life, I was carried there by the current. ”

Who is a Geisha ? [ Trisha illeenga :) ]. Geisha means artist or a performing artist.

We have vememoirs_of_a_geisha2ry limited knowledge about the other rare breeds of people and culture [ Sumo wrestlers, Eskimos, etc., ]. Books and cinema are the sources to open up the doors for our knowledge. You might have come across a category of people in Andhra Pradesh called ‘Daasi‘. A film came in 1989, on this subject which yielded national award for actor Archana. Daasi is a slave breed, where they send the Daasi girls as part of marriage gift as maids. They have their own bleak world.

The world of geisha is peculiar and more ceremonial. Their entire life is all about getting recognized as a Geisha. First, I wondered why Steven Spielberg opted for producing a movie based on a Japanese culture [ even directing it – and delegated later ]. It’s because of the poetic nature of the narration and a subtle sorrow n freedom of a poor girl. This story is based on a novel written by Arthur Golden.

Film : Memoirs of a geisha [ 2005 ] Period drama
Cast : Zhang zyi, Gong Li
Cinematography : Dion Beebe
Directed by : Rob Marshall [ Chicago ! ]

Plot

” We do not become Geisha to pursue our own destines. We become Geisha because we have no other choice. ”

It’s a typical Cindrella story with stunning visuals told in the backdrop of Japan.

The film begins off in the late 1920s. On a rainy day, a young girl Chiyo and her sister are sold by her family. They are sold to geisha’s house as maids. Life becomes tough for the poor girl as no one shows kindness to her [ fairy tale narration ! ]. There’s another girl called pumpkin who is trained to become a geisha and one more senior girl [ Hatsumomo ] who plans completely against Chiyo. Chiyo meets one particular person on road, [ a soft hearted chairman ] who treats her very kindly, which she never felt before. She develops an unknown respect and love towards the chairman. This is the first part of the story of the girl.

Later as an adult, she is later taken under the custody of another kind-hearted geisha named Mameha. She trains Chiyo as a perfect geisha. Also, Chiyo’s name is changed to Sayuri and becomes the top rated geisha in the district. She attracts men, who don’t attract her. She still longs for the chairman and circumstances make chairman to stay away from her, because of his business partner and friend.
Sayuri, later in a different status, gets her final chance to showcase her skills as a geisha and get an offer. Her life continues to be be painful with hatred, backstabbing and jealous. Did she live a life that she wanted ?

View

– It’s a visual treat. Right from the first frame, the film is presented with exotic and beautiful shots. In VLC plyer, there’s an option to convert any frame of the film to a wallpaper. This film worth all the frames :) . The other film, I recollect is ‘Anna and the King’ [ Thai based ].

– The story as you read is simple but slow. No action sequences, thrilling moments or hilarious wits. The story flows just like a stream. Like Geishas, the film concentrates more on the outlook rather than the emotions [ Fantastic sets, extraordinary visuals, fine costumes ].

– The next beautiful aspect was the music, of course. The efforts to recreate Japan in 1930, Sumo wrestling, houses, especially costumes [ Kimonos – similar to silk saree ] are laudable. This movie has won academy award for cinematography, art direction and costumes.

– The water element in this movie is attractively portrayed. The film starts with rain, sea side fishing village, ends in a small park with a pond. The heroine herself is identified as an element of water as per their tradition.

– They were able to find a girl as well as an adult with same attributes of twinkling blue eyes. Those eyes express love, sorrow, pain and what not. [ Chinese ponnudaa.. Vittu veidaa.:) ]. There were handful of scenes, where the girl smiles fully. Even the emotions of the geisha are muted.

– The heroine Ziyi Zhang has done stupendous job as Geisha. The surprise is she is from China and played this Japanese traditional character.

– I liked the chiyo and Hatsumomo characters equally as they portray the good and evil natures very easily.

Sayuri doesn’t cry in the movie, though she had moments for the same. Also, expressing love. Geisha is not accustomed to express her love easily and that justifies her action in the movie.

– The demerits are it’s a complete girl movie and the pace. The chairman – sayuri relation doesn’t make an impact. A fragile Geisha. The other issues are that they speak English [ Why the hell ! ] and romance relationship lacks the grip.[ Un expectation puriyudhu :) ].

geisha1

Conclusion

Geishas are definitely not prostitutes [ at least, that’s my wish :) ]. This movie is a different genre and serves the purpose of soft entertainment. “Geisha is an artist of the floating world. She dances, she sings, she entertains you… What ever you want… the rest is shadows, the rest is secret.” – So was the movie.. It sings, it dances and it entertains.. but slowly.

film4thwall

Cinema and film songs are my passion. I am inspired by the writings of Cinematographer Chezian, Sudesamithran and a wonderful set of friends.

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3 Responses

  1. Crankx says:

    Try DESTINO (2003) – Art in motion. A project which Dali has worked with Walt Disney.

    Cheers!

  2. Toto - Cinema Paradiso. says:

    Crankx Vaadhyaar.. I’ll check it, surely. I am still in ‘In the mood of love’.. enna padanga !!

  3. nags says:

    It’s I’ve of my fav movies. Watched long time back. Got the feelings of watching the movie as I read through. Until seeing this movie I used think it was a g public relations job :(

    It felt to be similar to Devdasis. Glorified slaves :(

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