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Memoirs of a geisha

Samurai, geisha, tea ceremony, Japanese festivals, weddings - learn about Japanese history and tradition.

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Memoirs of a geisha

Postby JockZon » May 31st, 2006 3:28 pm

I know there are mostly chugokujin in that movie, memoirs of a geisha (芸者の思い出の記?), but I thought it was very good anyway and you got a hint of the japanese history and culture.

Many thinks it's piece of crap but that have to stand for them, anyone who have seen it? :)

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Postby The Frankensteiner » May 31st, 2006 7:48 pm

I thought it was just okay.
The book is much better.
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Postby JockZon » May 31st, 2006 8:33 pm

Maybe I should give the book a try. I liked the movie because of the surroundings as well.

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Postby Liz21 » June 5th, 2006 10:34 am

I liked the movie. It was great on the big screen, not as good as a DVD on my TV screen. I guess some of the scenes are "too pretty", but I did enjoy the story. I read the book, too. How can a white Western guy write this??? :shock:

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A good book, shame about the modern fiddling

Postby DanRoddy » June 7th, 2006 7:46 am

The issue of whether or not non-Japanese starred in the film is a non-starter. The movie was let down by otherwise perfectly good actors being stifled in their performances by having to act in English. It's difficult to emote properly when you don't know where the stresses come. Watanbe's English positively contributed to his role in Last Samurai, but here it is poor.

The worst bit, and frankly it spoiled the whole thing for me, is the ludicrous modern dance routine. The wife smiled, and said it was "A bit strange." She's one for understatement. She extended it to the appearance of the geisha themselves, who look all far too much like modern models instead of the other-worldly figures they would have been - after all, it was a completely unique aesthethic. Still, litle point in complaining: Hollywood always plays with reality, that's its function.

The book on the otherhand, though I was conditioned to not like it by the story of how it was written, is actually very good, and a solid reminder of just how far the country moved, even in the post-war period. Apart from a few details, you could swear the lifestyle of the girls would have fitted into 19th, 18th or even 17th century (whoops, bit of colonialism here) Japan.

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Postby Belton » June 20th, 2006 1:11 am

Late to the party gomen :?

I too liked the book.

The film?
Well it looked good and probably deserved Best Cinematography (or should it have been Best Production Design?). But in the end the English distanced my suspension of disbelief and even I could see that the hairstyle makeup and dancing had been substantially changed to cater to a modern American audience (it's where the box office is afterall) Nor do I think Japanese at the time were prudish enough to wear a weird cotton gown in the sento. (Don't want nudity put your scene elsewhere)

For a Japanese look at the Geisha life I'd give The Geisha House (Kinji Fukasaku) a look. Set in 1950s Kyoto it shows the life of a maid in a Teahouse becoming a Maiko-san. (then a Geisha? I'll have to look at it again :? )
Last edited by Belton on June 20th, 2006 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby JockZon » June 20th, 2006 5:03 pm

Well, if we want facts we don't watch a movie 8)

I thank you for the tip though. I will see that sometime. :D

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Postby Bueller_007 » June 20th, 2006 9:12 pm

Belton wrote:Nor do I think Japanese at the time were prudish enough to wear a weird cotton gown in the sento. (Don't want nudity put your scene elsewhere)

There are some onsen where you are forbidden to enter naked. And not for prudish reasons, but for religious reasons. There is one on Sakurajima (the active volcano in Kagoshima). It's a kon'yoku onsen (kon'yoku = men and women bathing together), which usually implies nudity, but because the spring is sacred (Shinto?) ground, bathers have to enter in a heavy cotton yukata.

So the MemGei scene could be accurate...

You're right that it's unlikely though. I've been to tons of onsen, and that's the only one where nudity was forbidden.

P.S. I think this movie stinks.

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Postby Alan » June 21st, 2006 4:03 am

I bought it on DVD, but it was really too hollywood for me. The dance routines (as someone pointed out) weren't realistic. I'd much rather have had the genuine article. If they'd put some genuine stuff as a documentary on the DVD I'd have been happy. But no, just the usual behind the scenes stuff. Also having watched countless japanese films in japanese, the use of English felt completely wrong. It's like watching anime with american dubbing.

So overall, I liked the scenery (and spotting places I've been to, particularly on the end credits), but...


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Any Japanese out there

Postby MikeCassidy » June 23rd, 2006 10:18 pm

I'd like to hear what one of our Japanese members feel about the movie.


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Postby tanasja » October 25th, 2006 3:41 am

I watched the movie and read the book, but for me it's not quite right. I recommend reading Geisha of Gion, by Mineko Iwasaki, it does give a better picture, If I compare the books, the latter gave a better look on a Geisha's life. I did enjoy the movie, but it was too Hollywood. :wink:
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Postby jkid » November 1st, 2006 7:47 pm

Mineko Iwasaki was the primary source for memoirs of a geisha. She actually ended up suing the author of the book for comprising her anonymity and for deformation of geisha. She said especially because she was the base for the main character in memoirs of a geisha. The author denied these claims but Iwasaki did end up winning the case. Just a bit of info. I do see some similarities I must admit. :D

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Postby laughinghyena21 » February 3rd, 2007 4:52 pm

Loved the book.

Really enjoyed the movie.

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Postby Ulver_684 » February 4th, 2007 9:01 am

Jockzon-san! :wink:

Love the book but not the movie! :wink:

The movie was a big dissapoiment! :twisted:

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Postby JonB » February 4th, 2007 8:58 pm

I loved the book - hated the movie

So much was cut it was only because I had read the book that I had got a clue about what was going on.

My Japanese wife couldn't follow it at all. And my Japanese teacher thought the ladies were all "wrong" as they could not wear a kimono properly...

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