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Memories of Geisha

Memories of Geisha is a full of Asian beauty and refinement very touching story of young girl Chiyo who had become one of the greatest geishas in Miyako. The story is taking place in very traditional and ordered Japanese society. Geishas’ commune is shown as very complicated, mutual world of desires, sufferings, and hard competition among really nice and attractive women. Chiyo was sold by parents to geisha’s house and had very unhappy childhood without human warm and kindness. She was taken on training by famous geisha Mameha. Girl was learning the art of seduction and femininity and was very good pupil. Mameha gave her a new name Sayuri. Soon young geisha became the most wanted in her own town but she was not happy at all. Beauty and success among men were not what she really needed. Sayuri was madly in love with a man whom she met being a little girl. He bought her an ice cream and left his handkerchief which girl was keeping during the whole life in memory of their meeting. By the time of popularity she met him again but due to her status of geisha Sayuri had no right to reveal her emotions and had to be silent. Than the World War 2 started and geishas’ world was destroyed and almost forgotten in horrors of hostilities. Years gone by and one day Sayuri and her lover, eventually, said main words to each other. Beautiful and frail geisha with great strength within despite all sufferings became happy.

Montage and mise en scenes make film very feminine in every shot by smoothness and unhurriedness of atmosphere and showing the most secret moments in geisha’s life. For instance, while becoming a real geisha, Sayuri was taught how to move, how to dance, what to speak about with man, how to make up the face, put on the kimono and many other little but very important secrets. All mise en scenes of these episodes give the sense of belonging to inmost and very personal feminine world of each geisha. While watching it you understand how those women were graceful and skilled. Also greatness and harmony of the nature around associated with internal strength and beauty of woman’s soul. Frame in which Sayuri is standing on the top of the hill loosing her last hope to be with her man is absolutely fascinating by the symbolism. In my perception, here geisha merges with rocks, ocean, and sky. She is like an embodiment of nature. In another mise en scene on the bridge when she was a little girl looking into the river, nature has different meaning. Drops of water falling down from her fingers show how this girl is alone and fragile. So I think that nature is very important element in this movie. Also final montage adds music which reflects all the time mood of characters and atmosphere of surrounding world making woman’s thoughts more understandable and close.

Japanese culture has a lot of traditions and customs surrender to strict order and film show it in the best way. All geisha’s life was taking steps according to rules. Making up, wearing clothes, performing arts, eating, talking with men, choosing danna, loosing virginity-all events of their existence were full of traditions which require acting in certain way. All mise en scenes showing these activities consist of order and every act has explanation, motivation and sense what makes final montage and perception of the film very completed.

Two ideas which I have got from this movie are the following. Firstly, I have understood what it feels like to be put in strict bounds of norms of behavior given by culture. Sayuri had to keep silence about her love and be with other men just because she was expected to do so from surrounding society. Due to mentality Sayuri had only this idea of life and she could not overcome traditions just by running away from okiyo. Geisha had no choice. Secondly, now I am certainly sure that beauty for woman is not enough. From my point of view, it is just a tool to attract man’s attention but it cannot make you happy. Only love gives women’s lives meaning and light and Sayuri’s case proves it.

By anhel


November 25, 2007 - Posted by | Kazkahstani movies

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