Memoirs of a Geisha
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movies

Memoirs of a Geisha February 26, 2006 Sunday

Memoirs of a Geisha
Rating: star star star star star
Actors: Zhang Ziyi
Director: Rob Marshall

It was a choice - watch Syrianna with my own money or be treated to watch Memoirs of a Geisha. At P160 per movie, let's just say I suddenly developed a liking for Zhang Ziyi. Well, not exactly. I liked her in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and I thought she was a very promising actress that came out of Asia.

Synopsis
Zhang is sold to a geisha house as a child. She becomes the most celebrated geisha in the village but World War II devastates Japan and her livelihood with it. In postwar Japan, she finds herself in a position to help rebuild Japan and be with the man she has set her life for. Yes, I found out it's also a love story.

Acting
Topnotch with riveting performance by Gong Li (as Hatsumomo) and Kji Yakusho (as Nobu). Michelle Yeoh was competent as the graceful but guile mentor. Ken was impressive a the blue-balled secret admirer whose charm put meaning into Zhang's empty existence as an indentured geisha. Zhang...well, she has a lovely face. Her acting was enhanced by the competent acting of all the supporting actors and actresses that revolved around her.

Verdict
This is a perfect fusion of American film making knowhow and Japanese film subtlety. The visual artistry was poetry in motion. The restraint and sensitivity was quintessentially Japanese - almost like walking on a thin veil of Japanese paper, afraid to make a crease. If you've seen the Twilight Samurai, you'll know what I mean. The happy ending was screaming Hollywood - but it worked. This movie packs a powerful story behind its seemingly benign village backdrop. It showed the cruel inner workings of the geisha world in sharp contrast to its gentle façade. The movie is rich with stunning cinematography, covert cloak-and-dagger duplicity, betrayal, deception and validation.

If you're testosterone-flushed and you think it's a chick-flic, you'd miss out plenty if you don't watch it. A good movie...is a good movie.

--- TheLoneRider

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