Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

Action, Drama, Romance
Michelle Yeoh, Ted Levine, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang
Chiyo, age 9, lives in Yoroido, an impoverished fishing village on Japan's coast. When worse comes to worst for her family, she is sent to the Nitta Okiya while her older sister Satsu is transferred elsewhere. An Okiya is a house (sort of a compound) where a geisha lives. At the Nitta Okiya Chiyo meets another girl about her age nicknamed Pumpkin. Together Pumpkin and Chiyo struggle through the daily life of being treated as nothing more than slaves to the resident geisha, Hatsumomo--the story's villain, who tries her hardest to make Chiyo's life as miserable as possible. On one particular occasion, crushingly-depressed Chiyo collapses on a bridge in tears, and a high-society passerby stops to talk to and try to comfort her. This is the first time little Chiyo meets The Chairman. He shows her kindness in a world which has been nothing but cruel to her. From that point on, Chiyo determines to break free from the social class she was born into and become a geisha worthy of The Chairman. After much work and hardship, Chiyo is allowed to attend the school where young girls are taught all the important practices associated with the life of a geisha. She learns how to conduct the tea ceremony, how to play the shamisen (an instrument like a mini-banjo or mini-acoustic guitar), and--possibly the most important--how to dance. The Japanese word "geisha" word geisha is derived from a term referring to art, so a geisha is like an artisan, or an artist. After more altercations with Hatsumomo, Chiyo is taken under the wing of one of Gion's most popular geisha, Mameha--Hatsumomo's arch-rival as a geisha. Mameha takes a long time to introduce Chiyo--now renamed Sayuri--as her apprentice, but once she does, she is already blessed with fame for being associated with someone of Mameha's class. Mameha introduces Sayuri is many numerous figures in Gion life and it come to a point where men are fighting for the highest bid on Sayuri's mizuage. All this time Sayuri is struggling with the common life lessons of any girl growing up into a young woman; it is very much a coming-of-age story. Through all her trials of adversity, Sayuri's main goal is always to see The Chairman again. Finally the day comes when she is invited, along with Mameha, to a party at a teahouse at which The Chairman is attending. For the next couple of weeks she attends multiple parties which the Chairman attends, all the while seemingly coming closer to achieving her goal. Tension has been growing concerning World War II and Gion society stars to feel the effects of war. Rations are set up and many part of the geisha district are closing. Geisha are fleeing to other parts of the country hoping to avoid getting caught in an attack. Sayuri and all of her friends are separated until after the war, and once everyone returns to Gion it is realized the effects of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. All geisha who fled to these cities obviously died and the community greatly feels the loss. Sayuri desperately attempts to attain The Chairman's love: will she ever finally achieve this cherished goal?—Ai is Baka
  • 2005-11-29 Released:
  • N/A DVD Release:
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  • Rob Marshall Director:
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