Monday, August 6, 2012

Memoirs Of A Geisha

Illustration By Katarina Ringman

Before I proceed, doesn't Robert Cavalli's flower print silk chiffon kaftan dress, worn by Rumi Neely of Fashiontoast bear a striking resemblance to the kimono in the above illustration? Yes? Yes!

Okay. Here we go. Confession: I haven't read the book this movie is based on, so I can't offer any critic on the literature. But the movie, the movie, I can talk about.

Set in both pre -, and post World War II, Japan, "Memoirs of a Geisha" (2005) tells the story of Sakamoto Chiyo (Suzuka Ohgo), a young girl who, is sold into servitude along with her sister, by her family. She ends up in an okiya in Kyoto, a school where girls are trained to become geishas. Her sister, considered the lesser attractive of the two, ends up at a brothel.

In the geisha - house, Chiyo adopts the name Sayuri (as an adult she's played by Ziyi Zhang) and becomes the protege of Mameha (Michelle Yeoh) who teaches Sayuri the ways of the geisha. These "ways" are by no means comparable to the "ways" instructed at the Heidi Fleiss' School of Performing Arts. The difference; the geisha strives to make art her life. And with the risk of upsetting a few hardcore feminists out there; I can earnestly say that I'd attend a geisha school in a heartbeat.

I'm digressing. Sorry.

Sayuri eventually becomes one of the most celebrated and desired geisha in Japan, and enters an society of wealth, romance and Machiavellian intrigue. "After all, these are not the memoirs of an empress, nor of a queen. These are memoirs of another kind."

"Memoirs of a Geisha" is an epic drama and a visual delight. I don't want to ruin your experience by giving away too much of the Cinderella - like (love) story. But, I'll give away that the film is atmospheric and contains some of the best scenography and costume design in film history. Likewise, I have to give props to the film score by John Williams, which reminds me that I forgot to give credit, where credits due, to Ennio Morricone who provides the eerie and hauntingly beautiful music in "Lolita", in my review of "Lolita". Additionally, and I'm digressing again - I'm sorry, I recently discovered that there's an audio book of "Lolita" with Jeremy Irons as the reader. Sing hallelujah. It's like my birthday came twice this year. There's also a six degree of separation between Irons and "Memoirs of a Geisha" as Irons plays a geisha (a melodramatic morbid geisha, but a geisha still) in the movie's - "M Butterfly" (1993)- final scene.


  1. Gorgeous!

  2. I can't believe my self I haven't watched this movie. Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh both are georgeous here. From the campaign and review it looks indeed having beautiful cinematography, scenery, costume, visually awesome. I don't know why I always delay to watch. Thankyou for the reminder!
    And thankyou for stopping by and I'm glad you like the way I folded my jeans, you saw details :)

    Naty Ponders Style
    Chachamisu Photography

  3. Wow this is brill! So professional!

  4. I concur with the above statement. Compliments to the artist.

  5. I haven't read the book either, but the movie is really good! I use to never watch a movie before reading the book, but things are not always as we want them to be! :)