Disappointed with "Memoirs of a Geisha"  

rm_James20910 52M
182 posts
12/22/2005 8:18 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Disappointed with "Memoirs of a Geisha"

I've not read the novel but I think the movie was just awful.

There is such mystery for people like me for the courtesan which I would characterize as high class, high art, sexual service workers. By most account these women throughout history have been the secret social and sexual companions to important men throughout history and have had unique perspective on their roles and affects on societies as a whole. In western culture, they have been the second wives to king, emperors, presidents and prime ministers.

The Japanese tradition of the Geisha is especially an enigma wrapped in a conundrum. "MoG" is the movie version of a renowned book and was supposed to expose the Geisha phenomenon in it last traditional ritual and the transformation of it's role during and after the war.

In my opinion, the film tried to rip away the erotic aspect of the tradition and then presented a series of disconnected sub-stories that left me wanting. I get the transition of the main character and her desires for a specific high borne male character called "the Chairman." But the substance of story told in the film was haphazard at best. While emphasizing the high art of a Geisha's expression, it took away the erotic and turned the sexual component of the role to that of "pretty piece of porcelain" that would shatter if taken out of a ritualized matrix. When the main character sells her virginity to the highest bidder, there is some expectation of Geisha sexual high art, but the sexual ritual looks damn near ghastly.

Discounting the erotic, I expected to see Japanese performance art and even that was few and far between. You see fleeting minutes of dance and music. You even get a glimpse of the art of the look where a true Geisha is supposed to command a man's vision with a simple short look. But these examples were short and were spliced in the movie such that they took away from the story.

I loved both "Valmont" and "Dangerous Liaison" which were both derived from the same novel. Both films looked at the high art of Western Courtesanship and had a perfect balance between eroticism and plot conflict. Both films looked at the novel from slightly different aspects (I still say Valmont was better) but John Malcovich played a better Vicompt.

I give MoG two thumbs down.

FeistySyn 52F

1/1/2006 3:34 pm

hmmm compelled to comment, saw the movie last night, read the book years ago.

The book was fascinating, sad, beautiful, and very detailed based on the "true story" of a former geisha who ended up "retired" and living in NYC. I don't think the intent of the movie was to be erotic at all... but to depict the truth. In a lot of ways it stayed very true to the book, including the ritual of giving up her virginity. Since I read the book, maybe a lot of detail was clearer to me than it would have been the average viewer... unfortunately, if you went into thinking it was an erotic tail, you were definitely in for a dissapointment! I thought it was beautifully made, but really just another chick flick love story. My Advice, stick with the book. Happy New Year!


Apparently the depth of depravity here is bottomless... don't you feel right at home?

FeistySyn 52F

1/1/2006 3:36 pm

sorry... fix my typo ... erotic "tale" ... ooops!

my mind is so in the gutter huh?

Apparently the depth of depravity here is bottomless... don't you feel right at home?

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