Tuesday, November 29, 2005


"'According to this film, geisha dance in a bizarre fashion, as if they were in a Los Angeles strip show,' one Japanese film fan complained on a Web log, or blog, adding that the lights and special effects were more reminiscent of modern Las Vegas than old Kyoto.'

'In Kyoto, the centre of Japan's traditional arts, the reaction was more circumspect, in keeping with the western Japanese city's customary discretion.'

'It's a Hollywood movie. It's just entertainment, so what can we do?' said an official at the Kyoto Traditional Musical Art Foundation, which promotes the music, dance and other arts of old Japan. 'Hollywood has always done things like ignoring history.' [The Chinese actresses trained in the geisha arts for all of six weeks!]

'Complaining about it will just focus attention on it, so we plan to ignore it,' he added, saying that the Foundation had turned down requests to take part in promotional events connected with the premiere.'"

Maybe that's another reason they held it in Tokyo (box office first, cultural integrity whenever).

The West in general remains pretty ignorant of Japan and China and their similarities and differences, and could care less, by and large... so that shouldn't get in the way with the movie, any more than it did with the book...

[Later: 'Memoirs of a Geisha' film kicks up storm in Japan and China]


Anonymous said...

Well, let's see how REAL people (an ex-Geisha) react. It's ENTERTAINMENT!


How well has he succeeded? The early signs are encouraging. Several Japanese critics who saw the preview gave top marks to Ziyi, Li and Yeoh as the geishas.

Cross-cultural casting, of course, is nothing new. Brad Pitt played a Greek in "Troy," Welsh Anthony Hopkins portrayed Richard Nixon, Mel Gibson was Scottish hero Braveheart, England's Vivien Leigh made Scarlett O'Hara her own, Egyptian Omar Sharif was Russian Dr Zhivago, and so on.

There is one group, though, yet to be heard from. How will geishas react to it? According to Hong Kong's Star newspaper, Ziyi got a clue when she made a quick visit to Japan in September. While in Tokyo, she received a package with a letter from an elderly woman who used to be a geisha. In the letter, the woman stated that she had been touched by the trailer of the film which brought back fond memories for her. Inside the parcel were several exquisite antique kimonos. It moved her to tears, she told the Star.

Robert Brady said...

Geisha are already fading. This will be their 'entertainment' legacy. Fast culture, filmed in Ventura.

Anonymous said...

By your comment you seem to imply that all film is 'fast culture'.
This film took a reasonably long time to make, and the 'only 6 weeks' of Geisha training is a fair bit of time for an actress to devote to just the performing arts part of the role (there is much else to prepare for.)

"In Ventura"; do you have something against movie sets?
Most of the best classic movies were made on movie sets.

Robert Brady said...

I'm just lamenting a loss of reality that you don't seem to intuit, that cost something other than dollars. I guess it was before your easily purchased time.

Anonymous said...

4 Stars in the Yomiuri Shimbun (Japanese reviewer) "Accurate and touching")

4 and 5 stars from the masses on Yahoo Japan!