Saturday, March 18, 2006

Movie Review: Memoirs of a Geisha

Whatever else might be said about Memoirs of a Geisha it is a beautiful film. It collected 3 Oscars at this year's awards - Best Achievement in Art Direction; Best Achievement in Cinematography; Best Achievement in Costume Design. All are deserved. Memoirs didn't receive much praise from critics but I thought it was an excellent few hours of entertainment. Memoirs has been criticised for using Chinese actors as Japanese women in the film (apparently leading to a furor in Japan). But surely that is no worse than casting Eric Bana as an Israeli or using American actors to play Australians in so many movies. So forget it ... it's trivial. Nitta Sayuri (Ziyi Zhang) lives in a fishing village in Japan and is sold, as a child, to a local geisha house in Kyoto's Gihon district where she is mistreated by the head geisha, Hatsumomo (Li Gong). Sayuri is stunningly beautiful and evokes a deep jealousy and hatred towards her from Hatsumomo. Hatsumomo's rival, Mahema takes her as her mentor and, under her tutelage, Sayuri becomes the most celebrated geisha in all of Japan. As a result, she enters into the world of the rich and famous. But war comes and her life is changed forever. It's a great story superbly filmed with a beautiful cast. So ignore all those negative reviews. Go along to the cinema (a big screen is essential to appreciate the artistry), relax, and enjoy a delightfully old-fashioned story of treachery, courage, and love with delicious music and a visual feast. My Rating: **** (out of 5) Positive Review 'The story is so compelling and the movie is such a pleasure to the eyes and ears.' - William Arnold/Seattle Post-Intelligencer Negative Review 'To its credit, the film's costume design is stunning. But unless you have a kimono fetish, there's no reason to pay a good dollar (or a yen, for that matter) on this junk.' - Phil Hall/Film Threat Content Warning Mature subject matter and some sexual content Related Links

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