Reading Movies

Mar 31, 2006 00:22 # 42417

charlie *** posts about...

Memoirs of a Geisha

93% | 2

I like this movie, but all my friends here in South Dakota didn't like it.

There will be an ENTIRE discussion of the plot. DO NOT read if you want to have a virgin movie viewing experience.

Memoirs of a Geisha is definatly character driven. It has a lot of action, but if you only follow the action, you start to wonder what the point of the movie is. There are also a few cultural aspects that add significance, and if you miss those it could be boring. This movie is distinctivly sweet like Pocky, not a Hershey bar.

In the begining Chiyo and her sister are sold into slavery to help pay the bills for her aliging mother and already poor family. She is brought from her rural fishing community to a giant city. Chiyo is sold to a Geisha house, while her sister is sold into prostitution in a different part of the city.

Chiyo escapes the house and is reunited with her sister. Her sister's pimp will miss the money she made that night, and they will be caught immediatly. So they agree to meet up at nightfall at the end of the week to escape together. Now you are thinking the movie is about Chiyo's escape.

Chiyo falls from a roof top escaping and breaks her leg. Her sister leaves without her - or dies. Around this time, word of her family's death also arrives at the Geisha house. The head of the house says to her (after telling her she is worthless and troublesome, not worth the money she paid for her), "This house is your only house." The line is very striking in Japanese because the word for house and family can be interchanged. So the English script could easily have read, "this family is your only family".

After her leg heels, Chiyo is demotted to house servant. She cleans the house, takes care of the laundry, runs errends. Basically she is Cinderella. When she is running an errand, she pauses over a bridge to watch the other children - who have their biological families - running around in relative freedom and naiveity. She begins to cry while looking into the pond.

In this moment of ultimate sadness a random man - who happens to be a chairman of a large company - abandons the two Geishas he is traveling with. He buys her an snow cone, and dries her tears with his handkercheif, which he leaves with her. He then rejoins his Geishas and continues his walk. This random act of kindness is nearly unheard of in Japan. This is fairytale land on the bridge now.

So from now on, Chiyo (Ziya Zhang) persues becoming a geisha - motivated by the handkercheif she keeps in her bra. She must always deal with insults and sabotage from the youngest and most profitable geisha - the evil stepsister she used to serve.

One day a woman named Satsu comes to make a deal. She will take Chiyo and train her to be the best geisha. If she can sell Chiyo's first act of intercourse for more than the evil stepsister won for her's (many years ago), Chiyo will go free. Otherwise the house retains a well-trained geisha. Now it seems the plot is Chiyo's quest to win freedom from the house. Chiyo is renamed Sayuri as a successful geisha.

Sayuri wins the favor of an ugly conservative man called Tanaka-san. He is a bussiness partner of the Chairman (Ken Watanabe). Sayuri secretly loves the Chairman, but for bussiness purposes, she must pursue Tanaka-san.

There is a climax here with many fights and sabotage from the evil stepsister, but I will skip that and just say that it ends in a fire that nearly destroys the house.

Not long after, WWII starts. Now people following the action are kind of lost. Tanaka-san and the Chairman pay to hide Sayuri in rural Japan. She works as a farmhand and is no longer the geisha of legendary beauty. She is called to return into Geisha bussiness to secure a relationship for Tanaka and the Chairman with the US army.

The Japanese world is now upside down. Everyone is calling themselves geishas, but acting like prostitites with the US servicemen. The title geisha no longer carries the high class reputation it used to, and the new clients do not understand the dignity or long history of the geisha.

Sayuri is teamed with an old friend of hers to greet the US commander, Tanaka-san and the chairman. Tanaka-san is tied to her, and the implication is that she will not go too far with anyone else. But Sayuri loves the Chairman, and the world is upside down, the bounderies that used to exist are now fuzzy at best.

So to win her freedom from Tanaka-san she seduces the Commander, and gets her friend to bring Tanaka-san into the room at the apex of intercourse. That way she will be free to persue the Chairman - a perfect plan.

But her friend brings the Chairman instead of Tanaka-san. The Chairman runs away in disgust. Now in a second moment of ultimate dispair Sayuri throws out the commander and weeps herself to sleep.

Later she is standing on a bridge reflecting, when the Chairman approaches.

"I told Tanaka-san about what happened. He cannnot forgive you. He will no longer require your services."

"And will you?", she asks.

"Well, I am not as conservative as Tanaka-san."

He begins to kiss her.

"But how?" she asks.

"Sayuri-chan (a term of endearment, like Mommy, sis, Babe), did you really think it was chance that I meet you on the bridge?" (Sayuri gasps quietly) "that sister Satsu came to rescue you? that you became the most saught after geisha in Japan?"

Now the Chairman's long-lasting and unconditional love is revealed, and they continue to kiss until the credits roll. This kind of unconditional love is unreal, unheard of, a true Asian fairy tale, and it is hidden until the very end. And that is the amazing tale of love and determination that is Memoirs of a Geisha.

Please contiune to vote AND post.

Apr 05, 2006 07:44 # 42454

rosyxxx *** replies...

Re: Memoirs of a Geisha

?% | 1

I saw the movie, and I think the most important thing I got out of it was the fact that Sayuri and the Chairman refused to treat sex as if it were just an act. To them, marriage and sex were not about business partnerships anymore. They had developed a more Western attitude that holds romantic love in high esteem. IMHO, holding any kind of love in higher esteem than just sex and titillation is a good thing.

I have not read the book, nor the book written by a geisha as well, upon which the author of "Memoirs of a Geisha" based his information about geishas...but I will say that I have often wished that my profession was more like the artistic perfection the geishas pursued. Never mind the subtle overtones of sex. I just wish that when you walk into a strip club, you would see more artistry. You see a lot of conniving, which is a form of artistry, but not what I had in mind. Since no one is going to listen to a stripper playing the harp, or watch her doing a fan dance, why not perfect your dancing? Why not learn the art of conversation well, instead of just running around asking for dances?

Many other dancers think I am crazy for spending so much time talking to customers. To them, it is all about the money. They say things like: "Well, none of them care about me, so why should I care about them?" To want to participate in charitable enterprises outside of the club, and then write off everyone inside it as not worthy of your attention....seems, well...maybe calling it a bit of a dichotomy would be the nicest euphemism.

You shouldn't always be thinking about what you'll get from someone, but I have found that many people have come to me recently (customers and former strippers alike), and told me that something I said to them helped them. And they want to return the favor.

I've been told by one former customer, who asked to be my friend outside of there, that the reason he wanted to be my friend, and agreed not to ever come in there again, is because he was so grateful for how much I listened to him almost ten years ago when I met him. He's certainly not my "chairman", because I don't feel romantically inclined, but here is someone who has grown from talking to a stripper, into a man who is not so closed off as he used to be. His behaviour at first was questionable, but he is mellowing.

And so, watching this movie, not only dredged up so many parallels for me, but also made me begin to think about why strippers and geishas are even necessary. I think it is because we want to believe in something beautiful and ethereal, existing on a plane outside of mundanity. In other words, but not quite, we want to put women on pedestals. But once the pedestal has crumbled, will you find that your investment of love and time are there to hold you, or will you find that you desire and greed have killed any ability to love?

For me, beyond what Sayuri and the Chairman experienced, the difference between what happened with Pumpkin, and with Sayuri is striking. Bitterness, rage, resentment, and taking care of only yourself just don't work. True love and romantic love MAY save you, like they did with Sayuri, but in the end it is the ability to just be able to love, that hasn't been strangled to death by negative emotions that is the best thing of all. Sayuri's struggle is a tribute to how hard it is to remain kind when there are so many around you who are not kind, and so many impulses of your own to be unkind.

If anything, "Memoirs of a Geisha" is a vehicle to show how kindness and love can heal against insurmountable odds. I'm banking on it. And even though the movie is soooo very Hollywood...I loved it anyway.

P.S. I'm planning on going to see "Ice Age", but also "Sophie Scholl". Frivolity vs. Seriousness. And if you want a mixture of both in a film, go see "Thank You for Smoking". I just had to put that plug in there before I disappear again.

P.S.S. Nice to see you charlie! :-)

My mind is made up...not like my bed, which is a mess.

Apr 05, 2006 18:01 # 42458

charlie *** smiles...

Re: Memoirs of a Geisha

60% | 2

If anything, "Memoirs of a Geisha" is a vehicle to show how kindness and love can heal against insurmountable odds. I'm banking on it. And even though the movie is soooo very Hollywood...I loved it anyway.

oh rosy, you said everything I could have ever wanted to say and more. I was hoping someone would one up my summary :)

Nice to see you charlie! :-)

It's been a pleasure, as always, to chat with you. I've been gone for a while (no internet at home after the move) but hopefully I'll see you later.

Please contiune to vote AND post.

Apr 07, 2006 10:56 # 42471

rosyxxx *** replies...

Re: Memoirs of a Geisha

?% | 1

oh rosy, you said everything I could have ever wanted to say and more. I was hoping someone would one up my summary. :)

Oh charlie, man, I don't think I was trying to one up you, at least not consciously, but if it came across that way...please accept my apologies. I just said what I was thinking, I think? At any rate, thank you for the compliment. I loved that movie, and am not ashamed to admit it.

It's been a pleasure, as always, to chat with you.

You as well. :-)

I've been gone for a while (no internet at home after the move) but hopefully I'll see you later.

Sorry to hear about the loss of the internet for you. I'm sure we'll catch up at some point. Just keep writing poetry, you're good at it. And do check out: "Thank You For Smoking", you will laugh your ass off!!!!! It's so politically incorrect. You'll laugh so hard, I'm betting, that you'll get a 'six pack' of abs from how much it works you're stomach out laughing. It's so wrong! ;P

But anyway, I'm glad we both enjoyed "Memoirs of a Geisha". I almost even read the book. And, snobby literary elitist that I can be, that's saying alot. I guess I'm getting off my high horse a little. Not that I could every literally ride one anyway...*laughs*

My mind is made up...not like my bed, which is a mess.

Apr 07, 2006 18:54 # 42473

charlie *** replies...

Re: Memoirs of a Geisha

?% | 1

Oh charlie, man, I don't think I was trying to one up you, at least not consciously, but if it came across that way...please accept my apologies.

No worries. "One up" is a positive thing in my book - just like an "ali oop" in basketball, you need at least two people. It was just a compliment - not a comment on my vision of myself.

I'm proud that the standard of excellence is again approaching "far from the maddening crowds" here at NAO. :)

Please contiune to vote AND post.

Apr 08, 2006 00:48 # 42478

rosyxxx *** replies...

Re: Memoirs of a Geisha

"One up" is a positive thing in my book, just like an "ali oop" in basketball...

Cool beans. But, I must say that I have no idea what an "ali oop" is...please elucidate the term? You know I seem to be in the dark about quite a lot of things. The other day someone used the phrase "giving someone the chili dog", and I HAD to ask what that was...some jailhouse humor I guess. Ew.

I'm proud that the standard of excellence is again approaching "far from the maddening crowds" here at NAO. :)

Um. I think my last my comment sort of dropped it a little, please forgive me...I sometimes get sidetracked by the baser things. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading your synopsis and interpretation of the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha". Keep up the writing, I'll be reading as often as I can.

My mind is made up...not like my bed, which is a mess.

Apr 07, 2006 15:45 # 42472

Orchid *** wants to know...

Re: Memoirs of a Geisha

Did you read the novel, too. I often read that the movie is not as half as good as the novel and it misses many things in there.

"Sie wollen nichts anderes. Sie wollen kämpfen! Sie sind Soldaten! Fucking Wahnsinnige!" - Noel G.

Apr 08, 2006 00:50 # 42479

rosyxxx *** replies...

Re: Memoirs of a Geisha

Hey Orchid!

No, I didn't really read the book. I skimmed it. Wait, I take that back, I read the first two chapters, and then skimmed the rest. But I don't know if Charlie has read the book. He might have, and could probably answer that question.

btw, HI! Off topic, I am curious if you will be carrying orchids at your wedding?

My mind is made up...not like my bed, which is a mess.

Apr 08, 2006 14:06 # 42483

Orchid *** throws in her two cents...

Re: Memoirs of a Geisha

I really liked the book back then ;)

Nope, pink roses :) Very classic, I know. I think orchids would have been to extraordinary for a brides bouquet - and expensive
;) Anyway, I'm sure null will post some pictures after all ;)

"Sie wollen nichts anderes. Sie wollen kämpfen! Sie sind Soldaten! Fucking Wahnsinnige!" - Noel G.

Apr 09, 2006 09:19 # 42489

MelMel *** replies...

Re: Memoirs of a Geisha

He better! beware the wrath of Mel if i dont get pictures...

Look at me! I'm a prostitute robot from the future!


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