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Memoirs of a Geisha

The movie Memoirs of a Geisha was based on the book Memoirs of a Geisha.

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Movie details for Memoirs of a Geisha

The movie was released in 2005 and directed by Rob Marshall. More information on the movie is available on Amazon.com and also IMDb.

Actors on this movie include Ziyi Zhang, Suzuka Ohgo, Ken Watanabe, K˘ji Yakusho, Youki Kudoh, Li Gong, Kaori Momoi, Tsai Chin, Zoe Weizenbaum, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Kenneth Tsang, Randall Duk Kim, Ted Levine, Paul Adelstein, Samantha Futerman, Michelle Yeoh, Thomas Ikeda, Eugenia Yuan, Y˘ko Narahashi and Karl Yune.

 

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Chicago director Rob Marshall's pretty but empty (or pretty empty) film has all the elements of an Oscar« contender: solid adaptation (from Arthur Golden's bestseller), beautiful locale, good acting, lush cinematography. But there's something missing at t... Read More
Chicago director Rob Marshall's pretty but empty (or pretty empty) film has all the elements of an Oscar« contender: solid adaptation (from Arthur Golden's bestseller), beautiful locale, good acting, lush cinematography. But there's something missing at the heart, which leaves the viewer sucked in, then left completely detached from what's going on.

It's hard to find fault with the fascinating story, which traces a young girl's determination to free herself from the imprisonment of scullery maid to geisha, then from the imprisonment of geisha to a woman allowed to love. Chiyo (Suzuka Ohgo), a young girl with curious blue eyes, is sold to a geisha house and doomed to pay off her debt as a cleaning girl until a stranger named The Chairman (Ken Watanabe) shows her kindness. She is inspired to work hard and become a geisha in order to be near the Chairman, with whom she has fallen in love. An experienced geisha (Michelle Yeoh) chooses to adopt her as an apprentice and to use as a pawn against her rival, the wicked, legendary Hatsumomo (Gong Li). Chiyo (played as an older woman by Ziyi Zhang), now renamed Sayuri, becomes the talk of the town, but as her path crosses again and again with the Chairman's, she finds the closer she gets to him the further away he seems. Her newfound "freedom" turns out to be trapping, as men are allowed to bid on everything from her time to her virginity.

Some controversy swirled around casting Chinese actresses in the three main Japanese roles, but Zhang, Yeoh and Gong in particular ably prove they're the best for the part. It's admirable that all the actors attempted to speak Japanese-accented English, but some of the dialogue will still prove difficult to understand; perhaps it contributes to some of the emotion feeling stilted. Geisha has all the ingredients of a sweeping, heartbreaking epic and follows the recipe to a T, but in the end it's all dressed up with no place to go.--Ellen A. Kim

Book details for Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha was written by Arthur Golden. The book was published in 1997 by Random House Large Print. More information on the book is available on Amazon.com.

 

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In this literary tour de force, novelist Arthur Golden enters a remote and shimmeringly exotic world. For the protagonist of this peerlessly observant first novel is Sayuri, one of Japan's most celebrated geisha, a woman who is both performer and courtesa... Read More
In this literary tour de force, novelist Arthur Golden enters a remote and shimmeringly exotic world. For the protagonist of this peerlessly observant first novel is Sayuri, one of Japan's most celebrated geisha, a woman who is both performer and courtesan, slave and goddess.

We follow Sayuri from her childhood in an impoverished fishing village, where in 1929, she is sold to a representative of a geisha house, who is drawn by the child's unusual blue-grey eyes. From there she is taken to Gion, the pleasure district of Kyoto. She is nine years old. In the years that follow, as she works to pay back the price of her purchase, Sayuri will be schooled in music and dance, learn to apply the geisha's elaborate makeup, wear elaborate kimono, and care for a coiffure so fragile that it requires a special pillow. She will also acquire a magnanimous tutor and a venomous rival. Surviving the intrigues of her trade and the upheavals of war, the resourceful Sayuri is a romantic heroine on the order of Jane Eyre and Scarlett O'Hara. And Memoirs of a Geisha is a triumphant work - suspenseful, and utterly persuasive.


From the Trade Paperback edition.