Swathed in silk and longing mostly for a bald guy called Oscar , the big-screen version of "Memoirs of a Geisha" arrives with good intentions firmly in place. Based on the best seller by Arthur Golden, this lavishly appointed melodrama was directed by Rob Marshall, lately of "Chicago," and features the Chinese superstars Ziyi Zhang and Gong Li, and the Malaysian transplant Michelle Yeoh, as Japanese geishas swept up in jealous rivalries during the 's and 40's. In this cloistered world, men come and go as do history and warplanes, amid spectacularly unfortunate metaphors about male eels and female caves and one regrettably brief catfight in a kimono. That catfight happens late in the story, long after Ms. Zhang's character, a geisha named Sayuri, has realized that the greatest obstacle to her happiness is an older star geisha, Hatsumomo Ms.
Midway through this lush adaptation of Arthur Golden's bestseller, kindly veteran geisha Mameha played by Michelle Yeoh defines her profession as "a moving work of art". And that's what director Rob Marshall - previously responsible for Chicago - has striven with every sinew to create himself: his film is replete with stately compositions, shimmering landscapes, and carefully coordinated colour schemes. Marshall also brings some of his skills as a choreographer - arguably the film's most successful scene is one where apprentice geisha Sayuri Zhang Ziyi must seal her ascension to the sisterhood with a public dance, a scene that Marshall infuses with unexpected emotion and beauty. Much ink has been spilled over this long-gestating project - once destined for Steven Spielberg, until he backed away. Some of it is over the perceived lack of understanding in the west of the geisha's calling; though, in its defence, the film draws a clear distinction between the geisha house - where all is genteel and ornamental - and the brothel down the road.
Hollywoodified: A Film Review of “Memoirs of a Geisha”
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It's a recognized fact that many epic love stories of literature and cinema transpire around or during a war. Zhivago the Russian Revolution , and Pearl Harbor just kidding. Memoirs of a Geisha falls into this category. At its heart, this is a romance that transpires against the background of an ever-changing Japan during the s and s. Although the film is less concerned with the war than with the impact it has upon the characters, much of the final act could not have occurred without the influence of the postwar American occupation of Japan.